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To think that giving up smoking can actually CAUSE cancer

(119 Posts)

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merrywidow Sun 27-Mar-11 20:11:28

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.

onagar Sun 27-Mar-11 20:31:21

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?

Violethill Sun 27-Mar-11 20:31:41

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

doutzen Sun 27-Mar-11 20:32:16

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.

CatIsSleepy Sun 27-Mar-11 20:35:17

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

southeastastra Sun 27-Mar-11 20:35:56

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 grin i smoked alot

BakeliteBelle Sun 27-Mar-11 20:37:23

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....

CatIsSleepy Sun 27-Mar-11 20:42:02

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

NibletMewling Sun 27-Mar-11 20:42:28

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:

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.

SardineQueen Sun 27-Mar-11 20:44:34

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.

SardineQueen Sun 27-Mar-11 20:45:35

Niblet that's very interesting too.

Stuff like this is fascinating isn;t it.

popstar Sun 27-Mar-11 20:48:23

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.

onagar Sun 27-Mar-11 20:49:38

<<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.

StealthPolarBear Sun 27-Mar-11 20:50:08

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!

StealthPolarBear Sun 27-Mar-11 20:51:30

Wow that's interesting Niblet (ust read that post), almost like the opposite of pica in pregnancy

iPhoneDrone Sun 27-Mar-11 20:51:58

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?

CatIsSleepy Sun 27-Mar-11 20:52:16

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

CMOTdibbler Sun 27-Mar-11 20:52:23

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

RumourOfAHurricane Sun 27-Mar-11 20:52:27

Message withdrawn

southeastastra Sun 27-Mar-11 20:54:47

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!

JarethTheGoblinKing Sun 27-Mar-11 20:55:09

I shall ask someone who actually knows, and report back.

RumourOfAHurricane Sun 27-Mar-11 20:55:53

Message withdrawn

cumfy Sun 27-Mar-11 20:56:27


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.

southeastastra Sun 27-Mar-11 20:56:57

oh thanks for that patrionising post

MrsTittleMouse Sun 27-Mar-11 20:57:00

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.

SardineQueen Sun 27-Mar-11 20:58:06

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!!!

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