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Smoking and Cancer Treatment

Did you know that quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to help your cancer treatment? Quitting smoking can improve your healing and reduce your recovery time from treatment and its side effects. Help to quit is available.

The benefits of quitting smoking during cancer treatment

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you might think about quitting smoking and wonder, “what’s the point?” But even after diagnosis, quitting can make a big difference in your life and your health.

Here are three good reasons to attempt to stop smoking or using tobacco.

  1. Research has shown that quitting smoking helps to reduce the possibility and seriousness of side effects related to cancer and treatments. Stopping smoking can make going through cancer treatments less difficult on your body.
  2. Using tobacco can decrease how well the treatment will work. For example, smoking can delay healing after surgery. Stopping smoking gives the best possible chance for the cancer treatments to work as well they are intended.
  3. People who stop smoking may have a lower risk of cancer coming back after treatment (recurrence of cancer). The risk of developing another cancer also is less.

Information adapted from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 6 Reasons to Quit Smoking if You Have Cancer.

Need help quitting?

It can be very difficult to stop smoking while simultaneously processing a cancer diagnosis.

While some patients decide to quit by themselves, most of the time it is not that easy. You are more likely to quit if you have the right kinds of support in place. Your health care team is here to help you quit smoking.

Some tips for quitting:

  • Let your health care provider know that you are considering quitting smoking and tell them as much as you can about your smoking/tobacco habits.
  • Ask about the resources that they would recommend for you, which might include options like Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
  • You might need to try more than one approach to quitting smoking.

Ready to get started on quitting?

There are resources that you can start with right away:

  • Visit the Smokers’ HelpLine to begin developing your personal plan and to receive 24/7 support
  • Sign up for a Quit Coach at Smokers’ Helpline

Other helpful resources

Once someone decides to quit, their family and friends can play a very big role in helping them succeed.

You can also learn more about ways to help on the Smokers’ Help Line.  

Cancer Care Ontario has pulled together a guide with more ideas about how to get help with stopping smoking during cancer treatment.

The Benefits of Quitting Smoking for People with Cancer

A patient guide from Cancer Care Ontario