The connection between smoking and cancer is clear. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking causes nearly half of deaths from 12 types of cancer. That’s the bad news. The good news is that while quitting smoking can be difficult, doing so is a step you can take to quickly lower your cancer risk.
What Types of Cancer Does Smoking Cause?
While most people know that smoking causes lung cancer, it also increases the risk of other cancers, which can occur almost anywhere in the body. In particular, smoking has been linked to cancer in organs and areas of the body that include:
● Mouth and throat
● Colon and rectum
The connection between smoking and these types of cancer has been confirmed through a large number of medical studies. So, lung cancer from smoking is only one of the concerns for people who smoke.
How Does Smoking Cause Cancer?
How and why does smoking cause cancer? The answer starts with the fact that tobacco smoke contains more than 70 chemicals that cause cancer. Called carcinogens, these chemicals make their way into your bloodstream and travel throughout your body every time you inhale smoke into your lungs. They then increase your cancer risk in two ways. First, the chemicals can damage DNA in your cells. DNA is responsible for controlling cell growth, and when it doesn’t function properly, cells can multiply rapidly, forming tumors. Second, chemicals in cigarette smoke can have a negative impact on the immune system, making it harder for your body to destroy cancer cells.
Common Questions About Cancer and Smoking
Some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about smoking and cancer include:
● What are the chances of getting cancer from smoking? Many factors affect your chances of getting cancer from smoking, including how much you smoke, how long you’ve been a smoker and others. However, there’s no question that smoking greatly increases your cancer risk.
● Can secondhand smoke cause cancer? Yes, it can. Breathing the smoke from someone else’s cigarettes increases your risk of developing cancer.
● What are the symptoms of lung cancer due to smoking? Symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough, coughing up blood or phlegm, shortness of breath, wheezing or hoarseness, chest pain (especially when coughing, laughing or breathing deeply), fatigue, weakness, and unexplained weight loss.
● How long does it take to get cancer from smoking? How long it takes a person to develop cancer from smoking will vary based on a number of factors. But the damage to a person’s DNA likely starts as soon as they begin smoking. So, the answer to the question, “How many years of smoking causes cancer?” is that while it may take years or decades for the disease to be detected, it likely starts developing much sooner than that.
Learn More About Cancer and Smoking from Baptist Health’s Blog
Keep learning about the facts of cancer and remission with Baptist Health’s blog. If you’re looking for treatment or more information about your cancer care, please contact an oncology provider with Baptist Health today.