To think that giving up smoking can actually CAUSE cancer(119 Posts)
MNHQ have commented on this thread.
Have seen several people give up smoking then develop lung / throat cancer.
spoke to a friend, she says the same of someone she knows.
A cell biologist I met actually asked if my H who died of lung cancer had given up smoking, I said he had a couple of years previously, then nodded sagely.
I googled the subject and found a docs forum where they actually discussed it; the thought was that as the body heals the cells then don't know when to stop dividing and go into overdrive becoming cancerous.
Interesting. My FIL gave up smoking after 45 years and died 4 months later from oesophagus cancer. DH thinks that had he just kept on smoking he would still be alive today.
would it not still be essentially caused by the smoking in the first place though? ie there would be nothing to 'heal' if the smoking hadn't taken place?
yanbu. observations lead to links which lead to theories and well, studies and then proofs.
YABU two grandparents (one from either side) both gave up 40 a day habits and one died 20 years after giving up, the other is still going strong 30 years after giving up.
Anecdotes are not proof.
Interesting. I wouldn't use it as an argument FOR smoking of course, but if a significant effect it undermines those who want those who currently smoke to be prevented from doing so.
I will try to find it, though I'm crap at links
great i gave up two years ago! i don't believe it myself, most smokers i know who gave up are just alot richer, slightly fatter and 100% fitter so i'll take me chances
got to put DS to bed first,will come back in a bit and do it
Hmmm. This is quite interesting. Would this only apply to heavy smokers? Ie, those who smoke 20 or more a day? I can imagine the theory applying when it's a shock to the body, which would follow that it was a relatively high number of cigarettes smoked to cause it.
I smoke, my Nan smoked until she was diagnosed then was in hospital. she was 76. My parents are 70. I smoke and won't give up I be happy if I live to 70.
I do recall my grandfather's doctor forbidding him to quit smoking when he was around 70 and on 2 packets a day- something to do with it actually being worse than continuing smoking [confusing]
look, if you smoke for 45 years, give up and die of cancer 4 months later I'm pretty sure the cancer developed whilst the smoking was still going on and your FIL just gave up too late after smoking too long 5inthebed
the genetic changes that lead to cancer can take years to accumulate
giving up is a good thing to do, the sooner the better
I gave up a year ago - I am fitter, happier and healthier - I'll take my chances - my guess is I am still LESS at risk than somebody who smokes
70 is no age - I am aiming for 85 minimum
All I know was that when I gave up I was ill for about 2 years, really ill with infections/ colds - immunity soo low. All from quitting.
I think your body and immune system goes into a kind of relaxation mode whereas when you are actively smoking the nicotine has had a numbing effect. The process of giving up any drug is dangerous for the health absolutely.
The smoking is still the fundamental cause of cancer, whether it develops when the person is still smoking or after they give up.
How do you know they are actual doctors on the Internet forum?
How would you diffrentiate between a cancer caused by giving up smoking and a cancer that was caused by smoking in the first place?
I am not a believer in anecdotal evidence tbh
it was still smoking in the first place that killed them though...by the time they quit the damage was done.
Dr Dougie Smokalot (sponsored by B&H)
also my dad (81) was a heavy smoker until his mid 60s is fit as a fiddle
not starting smoking is probably your best bet to avoid any sort of lung cancer, ban the things i say.
sorry about your husband op
Interesting. Didn't that happen to Allen Carr? Such a pity.
As someone who is literally sat opposite my dad, aged 50 who has days to live due mostly down to his smoking i couldn't care less whether it causes cancer or not. there are a great many other illnesses just as horrible that it DOES cause.
He is sitting here with a machine helping him breath. Any minute now he will have to swap his nasal tubes for a full face mask and Bi pap machine.
He has 9 children, the youngest aged only 9 And 5 grandchildren.
Anyone in this day and age that decides to smoke or refuse to give up is a selfish idiot.
It wouldn't surprise me if there were extra risk factors for say the first six months after quitting. That doesn't mean you shouldn't stop as after that you'd still get lots of low risk years and it would balance out in your favour to stop.
And yes it would still be the smoking that caused it if you're talking about blame.
Still if there is any truth to it then it should be studied to find the safest way to give up yes?
Surely a more accurate thread title would be:
"AIBU to think that smoking is the major cause of lung, throat and mouth cancer, whether this presents itself while the sufferer is still smoking or after they have ceased?"
In which case the response should be a resounding YANBU
Yes, I think that it can too.
The only people I know/or of that have had lung cancer are the ones that gave up smoking.
allen carr smoked about 60 fags a day or something ridiculous like that
statistically there will be a proportion of ex-smokers who will die of lung cancer, it can't all be people who are still puffing away
having smoked at all is bad for you
allen carr spent years in rooms with people chain-smoking to help them give up
i truely think this sort of misinformation can cause harm to people looking for an excuse to carry on smoking
see if i'm still here in a couple of years too i smoked alot
When I was a nurse, there were a couple of patients who gave up long-term smoking habits and then went on to have strokes shortly afterwards.
They said they were finally able to give up because they were beginning to feel really unwell before the strokes occurred and they no longer wanted to smoke.
Perhaps this connection is more to do with the body telling the person they have cancer, before the doctors diagnose it. They give up smoking, get diagnosed with cancer and everyone concludes that giving up smoking gave them cancer....
so what some people are saying is that if everyone smoked and no-one gave up, no-one would get lung cancer??? because that is bloody ridiculous
the stats on lung cancer reflect the number of people that smoke
stopping smoking has been shown to reduce your risk of cancer
believing otherwise is sticking your head in the sand
The media reported the results of a preliminary study earlier this month which suggested that the desire to stop smoking (or the absence of the desire to continue to smoke) after a lifelong habit might actually imply that you have cancer.
See here: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/07/AR2011030703659.html
Apparently many lung cancer patients spontaneously stop smoking months before they are diagnosed, and before symptoms appear. It could explain the anecdotal evidence of people here, tho obviously it is only a small study. But if true, the giving up isn't the cause of the cancer, but the symptom.
It's an interesting theory. I wonder if you are quite old and a heavy long term smoker, the shock to the system of stopping might bring something on. It's not beyond the realms of possibility.
I think allen carr was on 100 a day. Such a shame, a great man IMO, has helped so many people. He reckoned that quitting gave him more time as if he'd kept on the way he was going he'd be dead in no time. That's what his book says anyway.
Niblet that's very interesting too.
Stuff like this is fascinating isn;t it.
I agree with BakeliteBelle's and Nibletet's thinking. And I'm a doctor.
Good luck to anyone trying to give up. Biggest favour you can do yourself.
<<so what some people are saying is that if everyone smoked and no-one gave up, no-one would get lung cancer??? because that is bloody ridiculous<<
It is ridiculous that you think it means that yes.
As I pointed out further back it wouldn't be a good reason to carry on smoking even if true since the low risk years for the rest of your life would make up for any small rise in the first few months.
It still might be true of course. If it was then you'd want to know so you could schedule frequent tests for smokers who recently stopped.
gordy well done
Freaky "giving up" cancers discounted (as I'm sure they can be) I bet you are twice as healthy now as you were a year ago
Mamaz0n, so so sorry to hear that
Don;t let this put anyone off giving up - the NHS can provide free support, in fact they are falling over themselves to support you because quitting smoking saves lives and makes those lives healthier!
Wow that's interesting Niblet (ust read that post), almost like the opposite of pica in pregnancy
I've no idea if there is a link or not, but nearly all the people I know who have given up smoking have then spent the next year or so with hacking coughs, mouth ulcers (seems to be really common), colds, general illness.
Any ideas why this is? and particularly the mouth ulcer thing?
onagar i was extrapolating from the idea that giving up smoking is what causes cancer, as that seemed to be the idea being bandied around by some
and yes, that is ridiculous
smoking causes cancer, not giving up
And I bet you that a lot of people give up smoking because they have a cough/persistent sore throat which they then see the Dr about later - and it was cancer all along.
Cancer is caused by a series of changes in cell DNA, and its hugely unlikely that stopping pumping chemicals into ones body would cause that sequence of events to occur
well people are 'mugs' to do alot of what they do.
price of cigarettes now is ridiculous
good reason to stop if any more is needed!
I shall ask someone who actually knows, and report back.
I believe there are plenty of studies which look at the long term effects of giving up.
The big picture is that giving up by 40-50, gives only about 1 year less life expectancy than a lifelong non-smoker.
Continue smoking and it's 10 years less.
If large numbers of people started dying when they gave up, it would turn up in statistics.
I read ages ago (just over 10 years) that if you gave up smoking before you were 30ish that you would have no more risk of cancer than a non-smoker (once several years had passed). I remember showing it to a work collegue who was in his early thirties and trying to give up. It was an article in New Scientist, so from proper scientific research (I should hope!).
I find bakelite and niblet's theory interesting.
iphone the cough is down to the little hairs down your throat starting to work again and your lungs trying to get rid of all the crap.
Giving up anything you are addicted to seems to mean going through a spell of crapness - drinking, smoking, harder drugs - I think that while the body works to get to grips with not having something it has had for all that time and sort of rebalancing it can make people more succeptible to infections and things.
I guess that's the "dangerous" bit - you give up something and instead of feeling better, for a while you often feel much worse!!!
MrsTittleMouse-I guess that would depend on how old you were when you started, though?
<wondering which tobacco company merrywidow works for>
Honestly, they'll try anything.
iphone - I can answer the hacking cough thing. When you smoke, you kill off the little villi in your bronchial tubes. The villi are like tiny little tentacles that sweep all of the gunk out of your lungs. So once you stop killing the villi, they grow back and suddenly you are coughing up the gunk again.
People smoke because they are addicted, not because they are stupid. Plenty of clever decent people are addicted to smoking.
I know that some people take a "hard line" on addiction though but it's not my cup of tea.
winny - I am having to stretch my memory back here. I think that the theory was that before 30 you are young enough to recover from most of the damage. After thirty (takes big gulp here as I am way past 30 myself), your body's repair functions start taking a hit from the wear and tear of age, so the damage is long-lasting.
I can find the link but when I call up the page, my computer keeps clicking so I'm not going to post it. Just google 'does quitting smoking cause cancer' and it should come up top of the page if you want to look. Its by Ixedoc & Baab Mallya
so best never to smoke at all, Roy Castle never smoked and he died of lung cancer as he spent so much time with his trombone in clubs which where smokey and inhaled second hand smoke which caused the lung cancer which killed him. Now second hand smoke in bars is prohibited.
Smoking is often thought of as the cause of cancer - unfortunately there are far more other ailments and illness that smokers will suffer from, these illness may not kill them quickly, but they could have 10 - 15 years of pain and suffering from illness but not get cancer.
Diseases of the Cardiovascular System
Cigarette smoking causes atherosclerosis - the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. This process occurs to some degree anyway as we age, but smoking accelerates the process even for young people. This leads to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, aneurysms of the aorta and peripheral vascular disease, which can lead to amputations of the limbs.
Diseases of the Respiratory System
The lungs of smokers are likely to become damaged. Damage of the lung tissue can lead to diseases such as emphysema, which reduce the capacity of the lungs to extract oxygen from the air we breathe. 90% of cases of emphysema seen by physicians are caused by smoking.
here is an explination of the disease You can live with it for a good decade getting worse, you end up having to sit with your arms rasied so that you can get some air/breath, oxygen at home to aid your breathing and pretty much forget about leaving the house -it will become prison, though trips to hospital may break the pattern.
Damaged lungs are also less able to fight infection, which leaves smokers more likely to get infections of the respiratory tract including bronchitis and pneumonia. It should be noted here that expectant mothers who smoke are likely to be causing damage to their unborn baby's lungs.
Please don't think cancer is the only disease that you risk getting through smoking and other will also shorten your life span and inhibit your life style greatly
I need to find the study that shows that giving up smoking, whatever age you are, is still beneficial... PubMed tomorrow then
IF (big if) there is some truth to this claim, all it will do is 'prove' to people trying to give up that there is no point in doing it, and will undoubtedly do more harm than good.
OP - you are spot on. It's taking up smoking that prevents cancer in the first place.
I'm not so sure. Most people I know who have given up smoking have done so for more immediate reasons - they notice the effect it is having on them now and that's why they want to quite. Also if they get a partner/have children and they don't want to expose them.
People who would use this as an excuse not to smoke are people who aren't ready to quit anyway. The vast majority of smokers don't want to be a smoker - the question is when will they be ready to quit.
of course stopping is beneficial. the cost is enough to make it so! not to mention health benefits. it's a big trap, nicotine is the thing that gets you. inhalators are cheaper and healthier yet still give you a 'hit' if you're trying to give up.
shiny, nobody really ever chooses to smoke, IMO... people fall in to it. Nobody chooses to get addicted to a substance and nicotine is one of the most addictive of them all.
For anyone lurking/thinking of quitting, I thoroughly recommend Allen carr's book
It worked for me and a lot of my friends (I read it twice and used zyban as well) - I found that the book completely changed the way I viewed my smoking - it made me realise how stupid and pointless it really is, and that teh pleasure is an illusion. Good stuff
My dad smoked 40 - 60 a day. He literally chain smoked his way throuhg life from the age of 14 to 50.
He always said that he could not give up. that his addiction was far too strong. He was very much a smoker for life.
Unfortunately he probably had undiagnosed COPD for some years now. It took a chest infection which lead to pneumonia before he reached a stage where he couldn't breath. He was ambulanced to hospital where after 2 nights in resus and then a further 14 in an accute respitory ward attached to drips and catheta's and bi pap machines, being barely conscious for the first 10 days before his desire to live became stronger than the desire to smoke.
I actually saw him one morning, barely awake, trying to put his drip to his lips to smoke it.
he finally came home on friday. he has to be attached to either oxygen or the bi pap machine 24 hours a day for the rest of his life. At age 50 he has between "days and weeks" left to live.
how my siblings still manage to put a fag to their lips after seeing him as he is is beyond me.
If my dad can give up then so can anyone. though preferably before they are attached to life support machines
This is interesting, haven't read all posts but had to add that my mom believes that this is true.She has smoked since she was 13 and now she is in her mid 50's.She says she knows of people who have given up smoking and they have got worse or they have found out they have cancer!
Me just worrying has always said to her not to think like that, but then you do start to think.I know it depends on the person and all that but my nan always been a heavy smoker and she is in her late 70's and has problems with her lungs and has been told over and over again to quit.But now I doubt her quitting would benefit her health after all these years.
- I googled the subject and found a docs forum where they actually discussed it; the thought was that as the body heals the cells then don't know when to stop dividing and go into overdrive becoming cancerous. -
Yes, but WHY don't the cells know to stop dividing? Because the DNA has been so damaged by repeated exposure to the chemicals present in cigarettes. In order to avoid developing tumours our cells contain DNA repair genes and tumour supressor genes. These get destryoed by the chemicals in cigarettes and tumours are able to develop. So yes, tumours may develop after the person has stopped smoking but that's really irrelevant, the smoking has still caused the tumour and and it would have developed whether the person stopped or not.
This is what I have said to my mom, but in a bit simpler terms but she don't look like she will quit anytime soon.And even though years of saying I would try help her through it she doesn't believe she can
smoking causes a myriad of horrid diseases, some of them incurable so cancer isn't the only worry anyway... COPD for example is a foul disease almost always caused by smoking so you have alot to gain by stopping, regardless of how old you are.
Alcoholism is the only addiction in which the process of giving up can actually kill you. You can google it. The idea that giving up smoking can cause cancer is ludicrous.
Mamzon, sorry about your dad. My MIL has finally been forced to give up in similar circumstances. Unbelievably, her husband is still smoking. His wife spending Christmas in intensive care still isn't enough to make him stop.
My grandmother gave up smoking in her 50s having smoked for many years and died, aged 99, cancer free.
I don't think the theory in the OP is a good reason not to give up.
jareth, you don't need pubmed, google scholar is just as good
this article might shed some light
first author is Richard Doll, the eminent epidemiologist who linked smoking with lung cancer
'People who stop smoking, even well into middle age, avoid most of their subsequent risk of lung cancer, and stopping before middle age avoids more than 90% of the risk attributable to tobacco. Mortality in the near future and throughout the first half of the 21st century could be substantially reduced by current smokers giving up the habit. In contrast, the extent to which young people henceforth become persistent smokers will affect mortality rates chiefly in the middle or second half of the 21st century.'
actually i tend to believe richard doll rather than a bunch of docs gabbing on a forum
Georgie - the level of denials amongst smokers is staggering - lung cancer or COPD won't happen to them or it's nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be
should have added this bit from the results too
'By 1990 cessation had almost halved the number of lung cancers that would have been expected if the former smokers had continued. For men who stopped at ages 60, 50, 40, and 30 the cumulative risks of lung cancer by age 75 were 10%, 6%, 3%, and 2%.'
Mamazon, I am so very sorry to hear about your dad. I cannot begin to understand how hard it must be to see him like this.
Op, FIL's cancer was very very fast from dx to his passing away was nearly 5 weeks. I was there when he died, having nursed him all day long as Dh and his family were so overcome. He gave up smoking so he could be around his grandchildren more, he absolutely doted on them and never got to meet DS3, although he did get to know I was pregnant as found out the week before he died.
CatisSleepy, I do think he had cancer well before he was dx. If you read my post, itis DH who thinks that his dad would still be here is he hadn't given up smoking. FIl was the sort of man who never went to the doctors, regardless of how he was feeling.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
jareth, ok, just thought not everyone might know who he was! was not aiming my explanation at you in particular...
Smokers are far more likely to get COPD than lung cancer.
COPD may not kill you but will probably make you feel like you want to die. It is one of the most disabling and debilitating chronic diseases we see.
Mamazon I'm so sorry about your dad. That's the sad reality of smoking damage - COPD and an awful end of life process, worse in many ways than cancer
Smokers have some very warped beliefs to perpetuate their smoking behaviour - giving up smoking will not give you cancer, cause you acute stress or make you ill.
Smokers can feel worse before they feel better when they do quit - the cilia lining the airways grow back and attempt to waft all the tar out of the lungs, causing a persistent productive cough. They can become constipated, as nicotine is a stimulant and so artificically stimulates the bowel without nicotine the bowel can become sluggish. They can gain weight, get headaches, feel nauseous and be irritable and suffer modd swings.
All of these are transient and will pass. Quitting smoking will ALWAYS benefit your health; sadly for some that quit they may not be well enough to benefit for any length of time.
No, thanks for the link. Tbh... that's rye only explanation this thread needs..:-)
My DH has a theory that quitting smoking causes cancer because cancer thrives on oxygen and smoking deprives cells of oxygen, so when you quit you provide oxygen to damaged cells causing cancer to develop. It's just a theory, but I'd love to do a study on the subject. If only I was still working and could! I'm not trying to provoke emotive responses from people and I'd appreciate if you could refrain from comments calling the theory foolish or stupid. It's just a theory. I find it interesting and started googling to see what I could find, hence how I ended up here.
Gorgimama, where did you get your info regarding alcohol being the only addiction in which quitting can kill you? The same is also true for many drugs, incl heroin. There are many prescription drugs that the body becomes dependent on (physically addicted, not mentally so) that abrupt withdrawal can and will kill you. Many SSRI and SNRI antidepressants fall into this category, although not traditionally addictive in the regular sense of the term, but the body does develop dependence on them.
worm, this is a zombie thread from 2011 - you might not get a response from Gorgimama or the other posters....
Hmmm..I had HPV for a couple of years, cue much colpocospies and lasering. Gave up smoking, within six months my body and immune system had a fighting chance and the HPV was gone.
Can kinda see where the theory may come from even though I don't agree.
Sorry about your H OP. My dad has throat cancer caused by smoking. He never gave up. Last week he had his whole voice box removed as the tumour was too large to treat any other way. He now can't talk and breathes through a hole in his neck permanently. Advanced cancer like this has grown over a long period. Don't know if giving up smoking can cause cancer- it sounds plausible that it could- but carrying on definitely can. I guess there isn't a good option for a long term smoker. Statistically I would imagine giving up is going to give you a better chance. Wish my dad had given up.
And if anyone is wondering, the state my dad is in in absolutely horrifying. He's 59. I can barely look at him. He has been mutilated. His voice has gone forever and he gets so angry and frustrated trying to communicate with us. His chest rattles as he draws in breath through a hole in the front of his neck. If he coughs, his chest barks and it comes through the hole. He has been nil by mouth for 2 weeks and that will continue for more weeks. When he can eat, he won't taste anything much and has no sense of smell. It is disgusting and I love him so much but I also hate him for doing this to himself. I can't believe that this is how he is now. He didn't love us enough to stop this. I sometimes wish he had died during his surgery and I hate myself for thinking that because he is my dad and I love him so much.
Just in case anyone was wondering what not giving up smoking can lead to.
I was a smoker too until 4 years ago. Never again. Couldn't do this to my daughter.
Sorry OP, I think your thread title is completely wrong - you've got your cause and effect the wrong way round.
It should be phrased in terms of the onset of cancer (and accompanying symptoms of being terribly ill) often being the trigger for people to finally give up smoking, even before the cancer is diagnosed.
This is an old thread but for those interested cancergrace.org/lung/2009/11/30/can-smoking-cessation-be-a-presenting-symptom-of-lung-cancer/
Thanks for that link, Muscat. Very interesting.
I gave up nearly 10 years ago, after being a heavy ,very addicted smoker for most of 29 years. I started feeling healthier within days, and love being a non smoker now. I want to encourage anyone who is thinking of quitting to do it.
My sympathy goes to Guybrush and everyone else who has to watch their loved ones suffer from smoking related illnesses.
In my family there are no smokers yet we have lost two members to lung cancer.
Mincespy sorry to hear that. 15% of lung cancers are not smoking related.
I just want to point that out , because there's a lot of blame attatched to lung cancer, as if it's 'self inflicted'.
Personally ,I think it's time we start to aim for a 'smoke free' society, though a lot of progress has already been made.
It's shocking to think how normal smoking used to be, and how so many people are paying the price now, 30 or 40 years down the line.
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