Tobacco smoking is far and away the most common cause of lung cancer, but tobacco use has been linked to a number of different cancers in the body. Cancers of the throat and mouth, voice box, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder and others are all linked to tobacco use. Chemicals found in tobacco are poisons that can damage your DNA. These poisons also weaken the cells in your immune system that fight cancer. Bottom line, tobacco use causes cancer and then prevents your body from fighting it.

Stopping smoking can improve cancer outcomes at any stage of disease. It will help you heal better if you need surgery; cut down on side effects from chemotherapy and radiation; allow chemotherapy and radiation to work better, and lower the risk of cancer coming back or developing a new cancer.

It is hard to stop smoking, and dealing with cancer is very stressful, so trying to stop smoking at the same time can be tough. Tobacco products contain nicotine, which is very addictive, making it very uncomfortable when you try to stop using it.

Help with trying to quit smoking is available. Medications like nicotine patches, gums and lozenges are available over-the-counter and can help lessen cravings. Prescription medications such as Chantix are available from your physician. Local support groups such as the one sponsored by the American Lung Association held at the Lung Disease Center of Central PA may also be helpful. Call 814-946-2845 for more information.