Lung Cancer

Smoking Cessation

It is not too late to quit smoking, even if you have been diagnosed with lung cancer. Many people believe that it no longer matters whether they continue smoking. This simply is not true. Studies show that there are multiple benefits you can look forward to once you quit. Some benefits will be seen immediately and others are long term.

The impact that quitting will have on your treatment is by far the most important. Stopping the use of tobacco products will increase the effectiveness of your radiation therapy and chemotherapy, and you may even experience fewer severe side effects.

Finding Help and Support

Quitting nicotine might seem scary and overwhelming, especially because it is such an addictive substance regardless of whether you have been a smoker for a long time or not. You are not alone. Take comfort that your multi-disciplinary team is there to help you along the way. If previous attempts to stop did not last, consider what worked for you and what didn’t. You can use this information to your advantage.

Many approaches can help you quit, such as nicotine replacement therapy, medications and local support groups.

Additional strategies that may help include finding alternate methods of stress relief and staying away from people, places, and things that tempt you to smoke, at least for the time being. Think about marking a day on your calendar where you plan to quit, and let select friends and family know about this plan. Having a set day can help prepare you, and telling others can help hold you accountable so you stick to it.

Talk to your health care team about which strategies might work best for you and what they recommend. The most successful approach will likely be a combination of several things. Learn more in Resources.

Immediate benefits: 

  • Helps you breathe easier
  • Reduces lung inflammation that can lead to cancer progression
  • Improves wound healing to recover faster after surgery 
  • Strengthens your immune system to ward off infections better

Long-term benefits: 

  • Decreases the risk of secondary cancers
  • Improves survival after treatment
  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • Increases lung function
  • Enhances the sense of taste