SMOKING AND CANCER
The content below is courtesy of American Thoracic Society, Original Authors Tobacco Control Committee of the American Thoracic Society, Patricia Folan RN, MS and Daniel Jacobsen RN, MS, FNP-BC. For a PDF version please click here.
Many of the poisons found in tobacco can damage your DNA and lead to cancer. Poisons in tobacco not only damage the DNA, but they weaken the cells that fight the tumor. The bottom line is that tobacco causes cancer and then prevents your body from fighting it.
Most lung cancers are caused by smoking. Tobacco use can also cause cancer in many other areas of your body. Cancers of the throat, mouth, nose, larynx (voice box), esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, uterus, bladder, cervix, blood, and bone marrow are all linked to tobacco use.
You should consider getting evaluated if you have the following:
- Cough that does not go away or if you cough up blood
- New or worsening shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue (tiredness)
The best way to lower your risk of developing cancer is to avoid the things that can cause cancer. The following are some of the things you can do to prevent cancer:
- Stay away from tobacco and tobacco smoke
- Eat healthy foods
- Get regular health checkups
- Talk to your health care provider about whether you should get screened for lung cancer
- Stop smoking or using tobacco products (your health care provider can help you with this step)
- Avoid second and third hand smoke
- Do not let your children get exposed to smoke
Authors: Tobacco Control Committee of the American Thoracic Society, Patricia Folan RN, MS, Daniel Jacobsen RN, MS, FNP-BC
Reviewers: Suzanne C Lareau RN, MS, Christopher Slatore MD