Quitting Smoking Is Possible and Reduces Cancer Risk
No matter how long you've been a smoker, quitting is still possible and the anti-cancer benefits are huge.
PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 09, 2016
DONNA FERNANDEZ - PHOTO BY SUZI NEELY
Occasionally, Fernandez would try to kick the habit using her dad’s method, relying on grit and determination. She was smoke-free for nine months while pregnant with her son, but started again soon after he was born. “I wanted to stop, for myself and for my family,” she says. “Giving up cigarettes is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do.”
Finally, in 2009, Fernandez decided that cigarettes were costing her too much — both in terms of money and her health. Although she took it for just three weeks instead of the full recommended course, the prescription smokingcessation medication Chantix was one thing that helped her quit. She’s been smoke-free for seven years.
But four years after Fernandez took her last drag off a cigarette, she noticed a knot on her collarbone. “I thought I might have thyroid cancer,” she recalls. Instead, a CT scan revealed that undetected lung cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
THE CIGARETTE-CANCER CONNECTION
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rank cigarette smoking as the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. It’s to blame for almost 90 percent of lung cancer diagnoses and one out of five deaths every year.