Throat Cancer Causes Risk Smoking

While scientists are still working to discover exactly how and why cancer develops, they do know that certain environmental and behavioral factors put people at a higher risk for developing certain types of cancer. For example, unprotected exposure to the sun or tanning beds has been shown to increase the possibility of getting skin cancer. Likewise, cigarettes and chewing tobacco have been linked to the development of oral and throat cancers.

The Effects of Smoking on Cells

The carcinogens in cigarettes and tobacco products, such as snuff and chewing tobacco, damage a person’s cells, causing them to mutate so that they grow abnormally at an accelerated rate. Since the smoke and by-products generated from cigarettes and other tobacco products come into direct contact with the throat, pharynx and the respiratory system, these areas often experience the most cellular damage. Over time, this cellular damage can lead to cancer.

The Benefits of Quitting Smoking

In 2004, the 2004 Surgeon General’s Report: The Health Consequences of Smoking projected that reductions in smoking and other uses of tobacco could have a significant impact on preventing cancer-related deaths. The report estimated that a decrease in the use of tobacco products could prevent most of the more than 30,000 new cases of cancer that are diagnosed each year. Additionally, the report noted that a decrease could significantly reduce the more than 7,800 annual deaths from oral cavity and throat cancer.

There are many benefits to quitting smoking. In addition to feeling healthier, people who quit smoking experience fewer illnesses and infections. Also, research has shown that quitting greatly reduces a person’s likelihood of developing cancer, as it gives the body time to heal and counteract the effects smoking. In fact, former smokers have measurably lower rates of cancer than people who continue to smoke.

Additionally, quitting smoking can help improve the health of those around you, as secondhand smoke is dangerous to the health of smokers and non-smokers. Once a smoker exhales, the carcinogens of the cigarette also affect those around the smoker. In fact, secondhand smoke has been shown to increase the rates of cancer in non-smokers. Secondhand smoke is particularly harmful to those who come in close contact with smokers on a daily basis, meaning your smoking can negatively affect the health of your friends and family.

Tips for Quitting Smoking

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Many of these deaths are due to smoking- and tobacco-related cancers. Luckily, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting these cancers by avoiding cigarettes and other tobacco-related products.

Most smokers know that quitting smoking is a difficult task, however. Not only is a nicotine addiction a powerful force, but many people enjoy the actual process of smoking and associate it with many everyday activities, such as drinking a cup of coffee or sipping a cocktail at happy hour.

While some people find it is best to quit cold turkey, giving up the habit completely and abruptly, others need help to break their smoking habits or their dependence on tobacco-related products. There are many nicotine-replacement options on the market to help a person cut back and eventually quit smoking. These include prescription gums and patches, as well as pills.

Many people have also found success using alternate therapies to help them quit smoking. For instance, hypnosis and acupuncture have both been used to help break nicotine addictions.

Resources

Action on Smoking and Health (2005). Stop Smoking: ASH’s Top 15 Tips. Retrieved June 20, 2007, from http://www.ash.org.uk/html/factsheets/html/fact24.html.

Baptist Memorial Health Care (1997). Throat Cancer. Retrieved June 20, 2007, from http://www.baptistonline.org/health/library/canc3020.asp.

Better Health Channel (2006). Throat Cancer. Retrieved June 20, 2007, from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/BHCV2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Throat_cancer?OpenDocument.

Centers for Disease Control (2004). 2004 Surgeon General’s Report: The Health Consequences of Smoking. Retrieved June 20, 2007, from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/sgr_2004/highlights/2.htm.