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Smoking cessation at CTCA

Smoking, chewing or dipping tobacco products may lead to serious health issues. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, and tobacco use is a leading risk factor in oral, throat and many other cancers, including those not directly linked to the respiratory or digestive systems.

Still, despite the associated health risks, many patients continue to smoke even after they’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Some patients may even smoke more after their diagnosis as they deal with increased stress and anxiety.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), we understand that it’s difficult to quit smoking. But we also know that quitting smoking is a major step toward helping to boost overall health, which is an important factor in preventing cancer and helping to improve treatment outcomes in patients already diagnosed.

That’s why the doctors and supportive care providers at CTCA® encourage patients to quit smoking, working with them to find smoking cessation strategies designed for their needs.

Quit smoking: The benefits

No matter how long you’ve smoked, it’s never too late to quit. The health benefits when you quit smoking are numerous and begin almost immediately after quitting.

According to the American Cancer Society, your heart rate and blood pressure drop within 20 minutes of your last cigarette. In the following days and weeks, coughing and shortness of breath decrease and carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal.

The health benefits that typically continue in the weeks and months that follow include:

  • Three to nine months after you stop smoking, lung function improves by as much as 10 percent.
  • After one year, your risk of heart attack decreases to about half that of a smoker.
  • After 10 years, your risk of death from lung cancer is half that of a smoker.
  • After 15 years, your heart attack risk is about the same as that of a never-smoker.

How smoking cessation strategies may help

Surveys show that most Americans who smoke want to quit. But research also shows that most people who try to quit fail several times before being able to kick the habit.

Smoking cessation strategies are usually not one-size-fits-all. Some patients may benefit from counseling, prescription drugs or nicotine replacement products.

That’s why CTCA offers patients who wish to quit smoking several smoking cessation methods so they can develop a personalized quitting plan that works best for them. Strategies may include:   

Nicotine replacement products

Your doctor may recommend U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved over-the-counter nicotine replacement products that are sold as gums, patches and lozenges.

Behavioral strategies to reduce urges

Counseling to support patients’ emotional needs and mental health is available to CTCA patients when appropriate. Counseling sessions may help patients address stress and anxiety issues that may compound their desire to smoke.

Prescription medications

Doctors may prescribe smoking cessation drugs such as varenicline (Chantix®) or bupropion (Wellbutrin®). These drugs work by blocking or reducing nicotine’s effect on the brain.

Respiratory therapy

Patients may be offered the option to meet with a respiratory therapist to discuss coping techniques and behavioral modifications.

Online resources

Many online and community resources and support groups may be available to help you quit smoking. CTCA patients are often referred to organizations that offer counseling, advice, products and therapies to help them quit.

National quit smoking sites include:

If you’re a smoker and have been diagnosed with cancer, call us or chat online with a member of our team to learn more about smoking cessation strategies offered at CTCA.