Posts Tagged ‘cancer risk smoking’

Kick Butts Day’s Effort to End Smoking

Did you know that over 3,000 kids under 18 try smoking for the first time every day? According to Kick Butts Day, 700 of these 3,000 kids will become regular smokers. Kick Butts Day takes place every March 15th to encourage American youth to speak out against this tobacco use in hopes of eliminating and preventing nicotine addiction in teens. It is extremely important for teens to learn about the side effects and consequences of using tobacco primarily because it is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

Facts about Smoking Cigarettes from the CDC

  • Causes 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
  • Increases the risk for coronary heart disease and stroke, which leads to death
  • Causes about 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and women
  • Makes it harder for women to become pregnant and can affect the baby’s health
  • Reduces the fertility of men’s sperm
  • Causes tooth loss
  • Decreases the immune system

Steps to Quit Smoking Cigarettes

The CDC recommends taking three steps to quit smoking. The first is to build a quit plan. In this preparation stage, you will determine your quit date, identify your reasons to quit, and develop coping strategies. In the next stage, you will learn to manage your cravings. This can primarily be done by staying active. For example, former smokers recommend chewing gum to keep your mouth busy or going for a walk to boost your energy. Lastly, find support. Listen to motivating stories from former smokers or watch YouTube videos of smoking campaigns to find the encouragement you need to get through the tough days.

Lung Cancer Progress Made, But We’re Not There Yet

Lung Cancer (This blog was originally posted on September 29, 2014 on the American Association for Cancer Research website)

Luther Terry, the ninth Surgeon General of the United States, released his now seminal Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States on Jan. 11, 1964. The report, assembled by a brave and committed panel of independent physicians and scientists, definitively concluded that lung cancer and chronic bronchitis are causally related to cigarette smoking.

Fifty years later, genomic discovery and the rapidly accelerating fields of epigenetics, proteomics, metabolomics, and drug discovery have presented an armada of new options for patients with lung cancer. Computed tomography (CT) screening of high-risk individuals, particularly smokers, helps detect the disease in its early, more-curable stages more than 80 percent of the time. Breakthroughs in cancer immunology have led to the accelerated development of PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors, demonstrating remarkable and durable benefits in early clinical trials of lung cancer patients with advanced disease. But in 2014, five-year survival remains under 20 percent for patients diagnosed with lung cancer and more than 1.5 million people worldwide will die of lung cancer. Moreover, smoking rates, while down to 19 percent in the U.S., remain well over 30 percent in much of the rest of the world.

Despite the armada of new targeted medicines, cure remains elusive for the vast majority of patients diagnosed with this dreaded illness, and a significant number of never-smokers seem to contract this disease without any known risk factors. So why are we optimistic that major progress made in science can meaningfully impact lung cancer?

2014 has seen major strides in lung cancer research and treatment. Smoking cessation efforts have accelerated with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) increased abilities to enforce regulations on tobacco products. Our understanding of lung cancer biology grows exponentially by the day. A number of exciting trials have been launched this year to test targeted agents in the adjuvant, postoperative setting, as well for therapy of patients with advanced stage disease. Exciting clinical trials have led to the approval of second- and third-generation agents targeting oncogene-driven tumors. A major initiative has been launched to target RAS, the most frequently mutated oncogene in all cancer, and a major driver of outcomes in lung cancer.

Substantial progress has been achieved this year in targeted therapy, stereotactic radiation, and immunotherapy of lung cancer. Collaborative work demonstrated that patients with metastatic lung cancer who were treated successfully by targeting their oncogenic drivers do better than individuals who were treated with standard approaches across several centers of excellence, and that work needs to be successfully translated in the community for all patients with lung cancer in the coming years. While emergence of resistance, triggered through enhanced survival signaling circuits, is inevitable in these highly complex tumors, our understanding of these escape circuits is accelerating rapidly. We are learning to combine improved imaging methods with superior technology to detect circulating tumor cells in order to identify and treat patients with disease earlier than ever before.

However, we have yet to show we can successfully intervene in lung carcinogenesis. In a large trial that we performed in the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, we found that natural compounds are incapable of reversing the damage caused by ongoing tobacco smoke. We must ally smoking cessation and early detection, and enhance our understanding of the cause of disease in never-smokers. We need to develop potent but tolerable compounds that can reverse premalignant lesions in former smokers.

While the 2009 Tobacco Control Act has enhanced the FDA’s ability to regulate tobacco products in some key areas, such as marketing to minors, major obstacles regarding the regulation of cigars, water pipes, menthol, and particularly e-cigarettes have limited the FDA’s ability to more effectively regulate the menace of Big Tobacco. Indeed, the booming electronic cigarettes industry threatens to enable a whole new generation of smokers. Unless we act decisively to carefully regulate the use of e-cigarettes, the steady progress made in lung cancer research and therapy over the past few decades could be eroded. It is only when we effectively reduce smoking by enforcing the FDA’s control of all products and implementing tobacco control programs with real teeth while simultaneously unraveling and preventing the causes of lung cancer in never-smokers that we will truly start to make an impact, fulfilling Surgeon General Terry’s and, most importantly, our patients’ goals to make lung cancer a disease of prior generations, and a scourge no more.

About Dr. Khuri

Fadlo Khuri, MDFadlo R. Khuri, MD, deputy director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Hematology & Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine, is a leading researcher and physician in the treatment of lung and head and neck cancers. He is Editor-in-Chief of the American Cancer Society’s peer-reviewed journal, Cancer.

Dr. Khuri’s contributions have been recognized by a number of national awards, including the prestigious 2013 Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award, given to an outstanding cancer researcher by the American Association for Cancer Research.

An accomplished molecular oncologist and translational thought leader, Dr. Khuri has conducted seminal research on oncolytic viral therapy, developed molecular-targeted therapeutic approaches for lung and head and neck tumors combining signal transduction inhibitors with chemotherapy, and has led major chemoprevention efforts in lung and head and neck cancers. Dr. Khuri’s clinical interests include thoracic and head and neck oncology. His research interests include development of molecular, prognostic, therapeutic, and chemopreventive approaches to improve the standard of care for patients with tobacco related cancers. His laboratory is investigating the mechanism of action of signal transduction inhibitors in lung and aerodigestive track cancers.

Cigarette Smoking Linked to 30% of All Cancers

Help Your Loved Ones Quit SmokingSmoking has long been linked to lung cancer, and most Americans have heeded the warnings that smoking causes lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is a direct cause of 80% of lung cancer deaths in women and 90% of lung cancer deaths in men.

But a fact that many don’t know is that cigarette smoke is also a contributor to 30% of all cancers. How could it be that cigarette smoke gets into organs other than the lungs? As it turns out, the actual smoke does not, but the carcinogens in tobacco smoke do get into your blood stream and thus into other parts of your body.

Some of the cancers linked to smoking are:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Head and Neck Cancers
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Acute myeloid leukemia

Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, and 69 of these are known to be causes of cancer. (carcinogenic).  These carcinogens damage genes that allow cell growth.  When damaged, these cells grow abnormally or reproduce more rapidly than do normal cells.

Secondhand smoke is also bad,  causing 49,000 deaths each year.  Secondhand-smoke exposure also has been found to be detrimental to cardiovascular health, particularly in children.

While smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, there is hope for smokers. Much of the damage to your body caused by smoking can be undone over time. Also, there are many successful programs to help you quit.

The best way to prevent smoking-related cancers is to never smoke, but by quitting at any time, you lower your risks of developing a smoking -related cancer.

Smoking Cessation Resources:

For information on smoking cessation, visit:

The Georgia Quit Line provides free counseling, a resource library, support and referral services for tobacco users ages 13 and older. Callers have the opportunity to speak with health care professionals who develop a unique plan for each individual.

About Joan Giblin, NP

Joan Giblin, Winship Cancer Institute

Joan Giblin, NP has a total of 43 years of nursing experience, 25 as a family nurse practitioner and 16 as an oncology nurse practitioner, where she is actively involved in patient care and clinical trials.

In 2011, Ms. Giblin assumed a new role as the director of the Winship Survivorship Program with primary responsibilities for developing the program as a resource for patients and a means to facilitate continued good health and quality of life for cancer survivors. Prior to this, she was the director of the Winship Call Center, the first point of contact for new cancer patients, and was instrumental in establishing protocols and procedures to streamline access to care at Winship.

Giblin’s experience as an oncology nurse practitioner gives her insightful perspective on the needs of cancer patients and cancer survivors. As a clinical nurse practitioner, she was part of the aerodigestive team, specializing in the care of patients with head and neck, lung and throat cancers.

Giblin’s current research is in the area of survivorship related to long-term and late effects of cancer treatment and adherence to follow-up care.

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