Category Archives: Smoking and Cancer

Articles about cancer related to smoking cigarettes

Cigarettes Broken up

Need More Reasons to Stop Smoking?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), lung cancer accounts for about 30% of cancer deaths per year in the United States. The majority of lung cancer cases result from smoking.

Men who smoke are 23% more likely than male nonsmokers to develop lung cancer, and women smokers are 13% more likely than female nonsmokers to develop lung cancer. More than half of lung cancer cases are in former smokers, and 15% are in those who have never smoked.

Smoking also leads to cardiovascular disease, which remains the number one killer in the United States. Diseases associated with smoking include atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart failure, high blood pressure, and even stroke.

Carbon Monoxide & Nicotine

Cigarettes Broken upSmoking increases the level of carbon monoxide in the blood. Increased carbon monoxide levels in the blood slows transportation of oxygen throughout the body by 5 to 15%. Low levels of oxygen through the body leads to heart disease.

Nicotine is an alkaloid that works upon the brain’s nerve centers that regulate the heart and breathing functions. Causing the small blood vessels to constrict, this lessens the vessels elasticity, increase heart problems, and increases blood vessel disease.

Carcinogens

Constant smoking results in a build up of carcinogens, the cancer producing agents found in tar and tobacco smoke. Carcinogens are deposited in the bronchial tubes that lead to the lungs. From the bronchial tubes, the carcinogens move into the air tubes of the lungs where the cells are attacked and mutated into cancerous cells: lung cancer.

Video Demonstrates How Smoking Destroys Your Lungs

Lung cancer accounts for approximately one third of cancer deaths in the American population.

Over $10 billion is spent annually on the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

The majority of people with this disease are smokers, but former smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke are still at risk.

What Smoking Does to Your Lungs

Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke causes the invasion of over 4,000 chemicals into the lungs through the mouth and nose. These chemicals are deposited as tar in the lungs, sticking to the cilia. The function of the “hair-like” cilia is to keep the airways and lungs clean. When covered with tar, the cilia dies off. Germs and dirt do not get cleaned out and there is an accumulation of mucous. “Smoker’s Cough” is attributed to dead cilia. When dirty mucous clogs the airways and blocks the inhalation and exhalation of breath, a person’s reaction is to cough.

Long Term Effects of Smoking on the Lungs

Smoking destroys the body in many ways. A few of the long term consequences to the lungs caused by smoking and continued exposure to secondhand smoke includes:

  • emphysema
  • cancer
  • bronchitis
  • asthma
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

To see the difference in functioning between healthy lungs and tumor-covered lungs, watch the following video:

Molly Wears a Hat

Why Molly Wears a Hat: She Started Smoking at 15, Developed Cancer by 30

Molly is a 30 year old mother who was working and going to school when she was diagnosed with large cell lung cancer.

As a smoker for half her life, Molly was faced with a terrifying and painful disease that could have been prevented.

Quitting smoking was a no-brainer for Molly. She says she could “smoke and die, or breathe and live.”

Smoking Habit Formed Early

Molly was a teenager when she started smoking. In the beginning, it was a social activity she’d do with her friends: someone would steal cigarettes from a parent or older sibling, and they’d sneak off to the park to smoke them.

Smoking was also a normal part of Molly’s family growing up. Many relatives on both sides of her family smoked. So, frequently being around smokers and smoking, she tended to see it as a normal activity.

Molly’s Advice to Kids & Teens

“Don’t do it!” are Molly’s words of wisdom to teenagers who are feeling pressured to smoke or are thinking about starting the lethal habit. She points out, using herself as an example, it is an activity that slowly kills yourself.

Vowing to live life to the fullest, Molly reminds people, “Don’t take anything for granted. Life is way too short.”

Listen to Molly’s Story

When Mama Wore a Hat

Book Cover for When Mama Wore a HatBecause she didn’t want to scare them, it took Molly a while to be brave enough to tell her kids that she had cancer. When she did, Molly used the illustrated children’s book When Mama Wore a Hat by Eleanor Schick (Wyeth) to help explain what was happening.

Schick, an esteemed children’s author and illustrator, wrote When Mama Wore a Hat, suitable for four to eight year olds, in order to help them understand illness.

To learn more about this book click > When Mama Wore a Hat by Eleanor Schick

Smoking Ups Colon Cancer Risk

Italian researchers recently reported that smoking cigarettes ups the the risk of getting colorectal cancer by 18 percent and the risk of malignancy by about 25 percent.

This study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (December 17, 2008).

Smoking cigarettes does a lot of damage to your body.

Organs that have direct contact with carcinogens from smoking are more likely to become affected by cancer. These organs include: lungs, throat, larynx, oropharynx, and the upper digestive tract. Organs that have indirect exposure to carcinogen from smoking include: pancreas, bladder, cervix, kidneys, rectum and colon. These organs also have an increased chance of becoming affected by cancer.

smelly ciggy“Smoking is significantly associated with colorectal cancer incidence and mortality,” said the study’s lead author, Edoardo Botteri, a biostatistician in the division of epidemiology and biostatistics at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy.

Read more about it at HealthDay News

Small Changes Can Help Prevent Cancer

Making small changes could make a big difference in preventing cancer.

Avoid preventable risk factors by incorporating these guidelines into of your lifestyle.

Three choices can make a vast difference in increasing your odds for staying healthy and keeping yourself in check.

Don’t Smoke Tobacco

Smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body, is linked to at least 15 different cancers, accounts for about 30 percent of all cancer deaths and costs billions of dollars each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

In the United States, cigarette smoking is responsible for about 90 percent of all cases of lung cancer — the leading cause of cancer death. Smoking cigars and pipes or chewing tobacco isn’t safe either.

“The importance of not smoking cannot be over emphasized in the prevention of cancer,” says Dr. Thomas Johnson, oncologist with Sacred Heart Medical Oncology Group. “Quitting is imperative for anyone who uses tobacco. Even people who have used tobacco for many years reduce their risk of cancer by quitting, as compared to people who continue to use tobacco.”

Toss Cigarettes Away“The predisposition for lung cancer does run in families,” Johnson says. “Smokers with relatives who have contracted lung cancer are at extremely high risk for developing cancer themselves, due to their genetic makeup.

You will often see multiple cases of lung cancer in a family that has a history of COPD, emphysema or lung cancer — those family members are predisposed to cancer and should not smoke.

Tobacco use alone increases their risk of cancer by 10 to 20 percent.”

Eat Healthy Foods and Get Regular Exercise

Fully one-third of cancer deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity and carrying excess weight.

The American Cancer Society recommends that you limit foods high in fat, eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day and limit alcohol, if you drink it at all. Include moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking) for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week to help achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

“Being overweight increases cancer risk by causing the body to produce and circulate more of the hormones estrogen and insulin, which can stimulate cancer growth,” said Dr. Dee McLeod, oncologist with Sacred Heart Medical Oncology Group. “Studies suggest that people whose diet is high in fat have an increased risk of cancers of the colon, uterus and prostate. Lack of physical activity and being overweight are risk factors for cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, kidney and uterus.”

Avoid Harmful Sun Exposure

Most skin cancer occurs on exposed parts of your body, including your face, hands, forearms and ears. When going out in the sun keep these tips in mind: Avoid peak hours of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., stay in the shade, cover exposed skin with clothes and hats and use sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.Get immunized

Certain cancers are associated with viral infections that can be prevented with immunizations. Talk to your doctor about immunization against Hepatitis B and the Human Papilloma Virus.

Get Health Screenings

“For many types of cancer, by the time that there are symptoms, the cancer is too far advanced to achieve a cure,” McLeod says. “Cancer screenings identify those at high-risk for cancer, and to be most useful, must detect cancers before symptoms would cause a person to seek care. Early detection is so often a key factor in successful treatment.”

Screenings should include tests to detect cancers of your skin, mouth, colon and rectum. If you’re a man, it should also include your prostate and testes. If you’re a woman, add cervix and breast cancer screening to your list. Visit www.cancer.org to find the American Cancer Society Guidelines for Early Detection of Cancer.

For more information on cancer prevention and treatment, visit The SacredHeart Cancer Center.

Bigger Belly May Up Smokers’ Lung Cancer Risk

Reuters Health – Smokers who carry more weight around their waistlines may be at greater risk of lung cancer, according to a new study.

The finding, along with the fact that lung cancer risk is actually higher among leaner smokers, provides “intriguing” evidence that how a smoker stores fat could play a role in his or her likelihood of developing lung cancer, Dr. Geoffrey C. Kabat of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, told Reuters Health.

Several studies have found that a lower body mass index (BMI) means a higher lung cancer risk among smokers. “Reflex explanations” for the link include the fact that smokers are skinnier than non-smokers, Kabat noted in an interview, as well as the tendency for people to gain weight after they quit smoking.

Another proposed mechanism for the relationship is that people lose weight when they develop lung cancer.

But careful analysis of the data doesn’t bear out these explanations, Kabat said. To better understand the relationship, he and his colleagues looked at data from the Women’s Health Initiative.

Over the course of 8 years, 1,365 of the study’s 161,809 participants developed lung cancer. When the researchers looked at BMI after adjusting for weight circumference, they found that both smokers and ex-smokers with lower BMIs had a greater lung cancer risk.

But when they looked at waist circumference independent of BMI, they found that a larger waistline conferred a greater likelihood of lung cancer for smokers and ex-smokers. There was no relationship between BMI or waist circumference and lung cancer risk among never-smokers.

The findings, reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology, must be confirmed by other investigators, and don’t offer any clues on the mechanism behind the relationship, Kabat noted.

belly fatHowever, he speculated, “it may have to do with the storage, the mobilization, and the metabolization of carcinogens. These carcinogens … tend to be stored in fat tissue. That may play a role in the development of lung cancer. It may be that it’s linked to smoking but that it plays a role on top of smoking.”

He added: “We’re not ready to give people advice, because overall the advice would not be changed. We’re not advocating that people lose weight so that they have a lower risk of lung cancer. Smoking is so far and away the dominant risk factor.”

News Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, July 15, 2008.

Anne Harding, Cancerpage.com

Susan DeWitt – This Video Will Break Your Heart…

Please quit smoking while you still have the choice.

Watch this musical tribute of Susan DeWitt’s struggle with cancer caused from smoking.

This will touch your heart, and offer great motivation for anyone wanting to quit.

The video points out smoking statistics and touching moments that make you think twice about lighting up:

Smoking’s Effects on Genes May Play a Role in Lung Cancer Development and Survival

Smoking plays a role in lung cancer development, and now scientists have shown that smoking also affects the way genes are expressed, leading to alterations in cell division and regulation of immune response.

Notably, some of the changes in gene expression persisted in people who had quit smoking many years earlier.

These findings by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, appeared in the Feb. 20, 2008, issue of PLoS ONE.

“Smoking, we are well aware, is the leading cause of lung cancer worldwide,” said NCI Director John E. Niederhuber, M.D. “Yet, a mechanistic understanding of the effects of smoking on the cells of the lung remains incomplete. This study demonstrates an important piece of this complicated puzzle. Greater understanding of the genetic alterations that occur with smoking should provide greater insight into the development of cellular targets for treating, and possibly preventing, lung cancer.”

“We were able to look at actual lung tissue, tumor and non-tumor, taking into account the differences by gender, verifying the smoking status by measuring levels of cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine, in participants’ plasma, and confirming results in independent samples,” said Maria Teresa Landi, M.D., Ph.D., in NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, the first author of the study report.

To investigate the effects of smoking on gene activity in lung tissue, the researchers examined the gene expression profiles — patterns of gene activity — in early-stage lung tumors and non-tumor lung tissue of smokers, former smokers, and people who had never smoked cigarettes. Gene expression was measured in 58 fresh-frozen tumor and 49 fresh-frozen non-tumor samples from 74 participants of the Environment And Genetics in Lung cancer Etiology (EAGLE) study, a large lung cancer study that was conducted in the Lombardy region of Italy.

Adenocarcinoma tumor samples were evaluated in this study because adenocarcinoma is the most common type of lung cancer, and it occurs in both smokers and people with no history of smoking. The participants were 44 to 79 years of age, and 28 were current smokers, 26 were former smokers, and 20 had never smoked. The researchers also obtained detailed medical information about the participants (for example, whether individuals had previous lung diseases or chemotherapy) and biochemically confirmed participants’ smoking status.

Using microarray techniques, which allow researchers to look at the activity of thousands of genes simultaneously, they identified 135 genes that were differently expressed in tumors of smokers vs. people who had never smoked. Among these genes, 81 showed decreased expression and 54 showed increased expression in tumor tissue.

Most of the genes showing significantly increased expression, e.g., TTK, NEK2, and PRC1, are involved in cell cycle regulation and mitosis. The cell cycle is a step-wise sequence of events in which a cell grows and ultimately divides to produce two progeny, or daughter, cells. During the cell cycle, the chromosomes of the parent cell are duplicated and then, in a step called mitosis, divided equally between the daughter cells, ensuring that each daughter cell inherits a complete set of chromosomes. The cell apparatus responsible for the proper division of chromosomes is called the mitotic spindle.

Picture of Lungs“Our results indicate that smoking causes changes in genes that control mitotic spindle formation,” said Jin Jen, Ph.D., in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, a senior author of the study report. “Irregular division of chromosomes and chromosome instability are two common abnormalities that occur in cancer cells when the chromosomes do not separate equally between the daughter cells. Therefore, changes in the mitotic process are very relevant in the development of cancer.” Several of the identified genes have been suggested in the past as potential targets for cancer treatment.

The researchers also found similar expression of many genes among current smokers and former smokers in tumor tissue. Several of these genes, such as STOM, SSX2IP, and APLP2, remained altered in participants who had quit smoking more than 20 years before the study. Therefore, smoking seems to cause long-lasting changes in gene expression, which can contribute to lung cancer development long after cessation.

Looking at non-tumor lung tissues, the team found decreased activity for 73 genes and increased activity for 25 genes in current smokers. The genes most affected by smoking play a role in immune response-related processes, possibly as a lung defense mechanism against the acute toxic effects of smoking. However, non-tumor tissues seem to be able to recover from the effects of smoking. The researchers did not identify significant changes in the immune response-related genes in former smokers.

To gain a better understanding of the impact of smoking-related changes in gene expression on lung cancer survival, the researchers compared the overall gene expression smoking profile in lung tumor and non-tumor tissues with survival. They found that the altered expression of the cell cycle-related genes NEK2 and TTK in non-tumor tissues was associated with a three-fold increased risk of lung cancer mortality in smokers.

“Our data provide clues on how cigarette smoking affects the development of lung cancer, indicating that the very same mitotic genes known to be involved in cancer development are altered by smoking and affect survival. More studies are needed to confirm that the gene expression changes are due to smoking and affect tumor development or progression,” said Landi. “If confirmed, these genes could become important targets for preventing and treating lung cancer.”

About 90 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and almost 80 percent of lung cancer deaths among women can be attributed to smoking. In 2006, approximately 20.8 percent of U.S. adults were cigarette smokers. Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing an estimated 438,000 deaths, or about one out of every five deaths each year.

For more information on research in Dr. Landi’s group, please go to http://dceg.cancer.gov/about/staff-bios/landi-maria.

For more information about the EAGLE study, please go to http://dceg.cancer.gov/eagle.

For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI website at http://www.cancer.gov/, or call NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation’s Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.


Reference:
Landi MT, Dracheva T, Rotunno M, Figueroa, JD, Liu H, Dasgupta A, Mann FE, Fukuoka J, Hames M, Bergen AW, Murphy SE, Yang P, Pesatori AC, Consonni D, Bertazzi PA, Wacholder S, Shih JH, Caporaso NE, and Jen J. February 2008. Gene Expression Signature of Cigarette Smoking and Its Role in Lung Adenocarcinoma Development and Survival. PLoS ONE. Vol. 3, No. 2.

China’s Smoking Related Deaths – 45 Percent From Secondhand Smoke

“In China, we are looking at something like 100,000 people dying a year from passive smoking, and about 45 percent of that will be from chronic lung disease.”

~K.K. Cheung, Birmingham University in Britain

Secondhand smoke is a growing concern in China. It is difficult to find public places free of smokers.

The dangers of smoking cigarettes is not fully understood.

Passive Smoking“The rest of the smoking related deaths are from coronary heart disease and lung cancer,” comments K.K. Cheung

Learn more about > passive smoking

5 Lung Cancer Symptoms Most People Don’t Know About

If you are wondering what symptoms of lung cancer might feel like, here is a list to look out for if you are a smoker or ex smoker.

Shoulder or upper back pain: Pain in the shoulder or upper back is a often unnoticed lung cancer symptom. The pain results from a tumor pressing on the lining of the lungs.

Swelling of the face and neck is also a lung cancer symptom: Tumors can often put pressure of blood vessels, not allowing fluids to to travel as efficiently throughout the body. The fluids then build up, causing swelling of the face and neck.

Lung ImageFrequently having pneumonia or other lung infections: Tumor cells can trap bacteria causing frequent lung infections.

Frequently getting pneumonia is also a symptom of lung cancer.

Male breast development: Gynecomastia is the over development of the male breast and can be a symptom of lung cancer in men. Breast growth in men is normally due to the increase of estrogen. Lung cancer has been known to produce estrogen.

Hoarseness: Do you constantly feel like you have to clear your throat or your throat feels hoarse. This is a very common symptom of lung cancer. Lung cancer tumor cells can block passageways leading to many symptoms, like hoarseness.

More About Lung Cancer: If you are experiencing the symptoms of lung cancer, please see your doctor. Keep in mind that these symptoms of lung cancer are also the symptoms of many other benign condition.

Source: Lisa Fayed,
Your Guide to Cancer.
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