Cancer, Mortality and Smoking: Bad Numbers but They CAN Be Better!

Posted on October 28, 2016 in general radiology


 

of cancer deaths - more than a whopping one-quarter - in the United States are caused by cigarette smoking alone. This means 29 out of every 100 cancer deaths in our country are preventable.

 

This statistic would feel much worse if we didn’t have good news to couple with it: it is absolutely possible to quit - and the reasons to quit go beyond lung cancer.

 

This latest assessment of the toll of smoking relating to cancer and cancer deaths was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association October 24th, 2016. Part of the reason that smoking is responsible for so many cancer deaths is because it is responsible for so many cancer types - so much more than lung cancer.

 

The JAMA study covered 12 types of cancers known to be associated with tobacco use as specified by the US Surgeon General - “acute myeloid leukemia and cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx; esophagus; stomach; colorectum; liver; pancreas; larynx; trachea, lung, and bronchus; cervix uteri; kidney and renal pelvis; and urinary bladder.” Not all cancer types related to tobacco use were included, and yes, there’s even a link between increased breast cancer risk with smoking. Adding those cancers in the count would have meant even MORE cancer deaths are preventable.

 

Now back to the somewhat better news we promised. Recently, CVS and HuffPo teamed up to educate the public on how great it is to quit smoking. Their infographic (here) is worth printing and hanging in your cubicle if you need some positive motivation. Did you know that you begin to reap the rewards of quitting within 30 minutes? There are benchmarks of improvement for months and then years out as your body heals itself.

 

As an aside, there are also fiscal benefits of quitting. A multitude of online calculators and smartphone apps can tell you how much quitting can mean for your bottoms line, perhaps providing additional, future goal motivation, like “Quitting a half-pack a day habit earns you enough spare cash to travel to southeast Asia round-trip within a year”.

 

Preventable cancer deaths - let’s find a way to end them for good! It’s not the “moonshot” solution to all, but it’s a tangible place to start. There are a multitude of resources available to help you quit and to help keep you from being a part of that ugly statistic. From apps, to hotlines, to support group to some good old tips and tricks, you too can be on the path to self-improvement (and if you want, perhaps on a vacation adventure of a lifetime).


 

Image credit: Public Domain via Pixabay

 

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