Dr Abhishek Shankar, Assistant Professor in Department of Radiation Oncology at Lady Hardinge Medical College & SSK Hospital, writes on ill-effects of tobacco on World No Tobacco Day
Smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths and nearly 90% of lung cancer deaths. Lifetime smoker has a 20-fold higher risk of developing lung cancer, compared with a lifetime non-smoker. Over 60% of cancer patients are reportedly current smokers, recent quitters or former smokers. About 50% of lung cancer patients are current smokers at the time of diagnosis and up to 83% continue to smoke after diagnosis. A recent study suggests that people who continue to smoke after a diagnosis of early-stage lung cancer almost double their risk of dying. Response to treatment in Head & Neck cancer patients is twice better in patients who quitted tobacco after cancer diagnosis. .
Benefits of smoking abstinence after a cancer diagnosis are undervalued. Health care professionals often do not encourage their patients to quit, do not provide tobacco cessation assistance. Continued smoking is among the strongest adverse predictors of survival in cancer patients. Quitting smoking after diagnosis of cancer represents an important opportunity to decrease cancer deaths, decrease the risk of secondary cancers, minimize cancer treatment complications with a goal to improve survival, general health and quality of life. In patients, who continue smoking after diagnosis of cancer, evidence-based tobacco cessation assistance should be integrated into multidisciplinary cancer care.
Currently, only 23 countries provide comprehensive cessation services to help tobacco users to quit, it also mentioned. Over the last two years, many studies have indicated that smoking and chewing tobacco can substantially increase the chance of adverse impact on the immune system of Covid-19 patients.
According to the data published on WHO’s site, tobacco kills more than 8 million people every year around the world. Out of this, more than 7 million deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. All tobacco users should take a pledge and commit to quit on World No Tobacco Day.
Dr Abhishek Shankar is Assistant Professor in Department of Radiation Oncology at Lady Hardinge Medical College & SSK Hospital, Delhi; Associate Editor, APJCP; Editor in Chief, APJCC, and Founder Secretary of Indian Society of Clinical Oncology. He tweets with @ShankarAbhishek.