Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Perils Of Smoking During Chemotherapy

Risks of Smoking While on Chemotherapy

Smoking is a hard habit to break, and the hardship of chemotherapy can leave many former smokers reaching for a cigarette. While opinions differ on the impact of smoking on the treatment, doctors agree that staying smoke-free increases the success of overall recovery.

Reduced Effectiveness

Chemotherapy can be grueling, but smoking may make all that perseverance a vain attempt. According to jointogether.org, scientists at the University of South Florida found evidence in a 2006 study that nicotine stops chemotherapy drugs from destroying cancer cells.

Further Impact

In addition to reducing the effectiveness of treatment, usatoday.com reports that continued smoking can interfere with surgical wounds and tissue grafts, and "make patients less likely to respond to radiation therapy."


Regardless of the impact of smoking on the treatment itself, continuing your tobacco habit while recovering from cancer is counter-productive. Smoking cessation lowers the risk of cancer recurring-or of new cancers developing. And that is the goal of chemotherapy.

Overall Health

Cancer.gov reports that smoking is harmful to the body as a whole. Chemotherapy heavily taxes the body's resources, and smoking only adds to the stress.

Secondary Complications

Both smoking and chemotherapy weaken the immune system. Smoking while on treatment puts the patient in double jeopardy, increasing the chances of infection.

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