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Smoking and breast cancer are quite strongly linked.

The Link between Smoking and Breast Cancer

It is a well-established fact that smoking negatively impacts your health. The carbon monoxide expressed lowers the level of oxygenation in your blood, slowing down the healing process and general cell regeneration. The chemical mixture that is fast-tracked into your lungs is laced with carcinogens and other harmful materials. The result is that the average smoker’s lifespan is ten years shorter than the average lifespan of a non-smoker.

Unfortunately, the harm from smoking affects more than just the lungs. Bronchitis and lung cancer remain two of the leading causes of death for people who smoke. Still, heart disease, stroke, and other cancers that target the thoracic and abdominal regions are also more common in smokers. This appears to include breast cancer.

Research in Progress

With a notable increase in breast cancer among premenopausal women over the past forty years, researchers have become increasingly interested in what factors put younger women at risk. Smoking has recently become part of their inquiries, with researchers tentatively agreeing that smoking does increase the likelihood that a tumor will form in the breast at an earlier age than may typically be expected.

These same researchers, as well as the authors of several other studies performed over the past five years, do state that further research is needed. With the current data set and limited chronological scope, it is difficult to assess the direct correlation between smoking and increased risk of breast cancer. However, the existing research is compelling enough for medical professionals to have yet another reason to urge their patients to quit smoking.

Asking for Help

Nicotine addiction is a serious medical issue, but you don’t need to be ashamed. We now understand the chemical process behind dopamine-dependent addiction better than ever. That knowledge has allowed medical professionals and psychologists to combine their expertise to create pathways that can work without the stigma.

If you have decided to quit for you and your family, then there are a whole host of options that can help you beat addiction. If one approach doesn’t work for you, then don’t give up. Most people have to try quitting several times before they succeed. That option may not be the right one for you, but the question remains: where do you start?

It can be tempting to just try to go it alone. You may have picked up some nicotine gum in the past. Perhaps you didn’t even tell anyone you were trying to quit. The truth is you are probably going to need a team to quit permanently. In order to build that team, start with your doctor.

Start Honest, Stay Honest

When you first speak with your doctor, it is essential that you are completely honest regarding the intensity of your dependence. They need to know how many cigarettes you usually go through per day. And they may also want to know what your withdrawals are like when you have to delay a cigarette break. This information will help them to prepare you for what may happen during the quitting process. On their end, they will be able to advise you on the physical side and suggest ameliorative products for severe withdrawals. They may also be able to put you in touch with local support groups and therapists.

For additional help finding resources that will support your emotional and mental health during this challenging process, you can contact SAMHSA at 1-800-662-4357. They provide treatment referral services for individuals struggling with addiction and mental health. It is one hundred percent confidential and free, so you have nothing to lose.

Smoking with Cancer

If you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, then the need to quit is more vital than ever. Given the effects of smoking on the healing process, continuing to smoke can seriously harm your chances of surviving surgery and treatment. In short, smoking and breast cancer are a rough combination.

Unfortunately, with the emotional and physical stress that accompanies a breast cancer diagnosis, quitting will be even more difficult. For assistance, talk to the staff at Breast Health Institute Houston about what resources are available to help you quit.

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Houston Breast Cancer Surgeon

Darlene M. Miltenburg MD, FRCS(C), FACS
Call US 713-795-0161
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