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We all know how risky smoking is…
Coronary heart disease, COPD, lung cancer… plus about nine other specific cancers and various diseases are tied to smoking.
Now with a global respiratory virus pandemic, those dangers have been brought into even starker reality and may have you wondering if it’s finally time to kick the habit for good if you’re a smoker or love someone who is.
But before you reach for that nicotine patch or gum, there’s something you should know — quitting that way that could cause any lung cancer cells already lurking in your body to spread directly to your brain.
Lowered cravings, higher risk of metastatic brain cancer
Those nicotine-laden offerings have long been a favored way to quit by smokers everywhere thanks to their ability to decrease cravings. However, brand-new research from a team of scientists at Wake Forest School of Medicine has found that nicotine could actually be helping lung cancer turn into brain cancer.
Their study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, delved into the cause behind the fact that a whopping 40 percent of patients with lung cancer also develop metastatic brain cancer.
And they found that while nicotine is not actually a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) itself, it does have the power to shift the role of certain cells in your brain, turning them from guardians against brain cancer to tumor growth supporters.
To top it off, the team of researchers also discovered that nicotine suppresses your body’s innate immune function, leaving you wide open to the ravages of cancer.
So basically, smoking itself causes of lung cancer and then nicotine, either from continued smoking or from smoking cessation options — like those nicotine patches or gum — can turn that lung cancer into brain cancer.
Risk reduction to save your lungs and your brain
This means that if you’re even thinking about quitting, go for it!
If you’re still on the fence, it’s important to note that the average survival time without treatment once you have metastatic brain cancer is just one month. And even with treatment, your odds aren’t much better at an average of three to four months.
So, the sooner you give up nicotine in all forms, the safer it will be for your brain and the lower your risk of brain cancer and death.
But remember, if your plans to quit include nicotine replacement products, it’s probably not the safest way to quit…
“Based on our findings, we don’t think that nicotine replacement products are the safest way for people with lung cancer to stop smoking,” lead author of the study Kounosuke Watabe, Ph.D., professor of cancer biology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, said in a statement.
Instead, try one of these three smoking cessation options recommended by Dr. Elizabeth Klodas M.D., FACC, who trained at Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins and has dedicated her career to preventative cardiology:
#1 — Go cold turkey
Simply decide you’re never going to pick up a cigarette again — you’re done. And then follow through. According to Dr. Klodas, her own father used this method and never smoked again.
#2 — Try disassociation
If you’re like many smokers, you tend to smoke along with certain other activities. In fact, smoking and those activities are probably so intertwined that you never do one without the other.
Drink a cup of coffee and you light up. Answer the phone and you light up. Watch your favorite TV show and you light up.
These are rituals and associations that keep you smoking.
Instead, the next time you pick up your morning coffee, decide that you can only do one or the other. If you want that coffee, you can’t smoke. When that TV show comes on, you’re not allowed to watch if you smoke. If the phone rings, you can’t answer it with a cigarette in your hands.
Once you eliminate these associations, you’ll naturally find yourself smoking less and less until it becomes easier to quit completely.
#3 — Cut back gradually
You can also make a conscious decision about how much you’re allowed to smoke each day and cut back gradually. So if you normally smoke a pack of 20 a day, cut it to 19 per day, then 18 and so forth as you adjust to your new lower levels.
Dr. Klodas suggests actually crumbling up and throwing away the cigarettes you would normally have smoked at your 20 a day habit each and every day to ensure there are no extras that you can sneak in to destroy your progress.
These are all great options to help you reach your goal and quit smoking for good. You just have to choose the one that’s right for you. And for a little tip on how to make quitting smoking almost six times more successful, check out this article.
Editor’s note: I bet you’ve never heard of the forbidden fruit that programs cancer cells to self-destruct… or the natural “Pac-Man enzyme” that eats cancer cells alive… am I right? That’s because most doctors are afraid to talk about them, even though these are cancer therapies approved by other governments. To discover these and other cancer-fighting secrets hiding in plain sight—click here!
Quitting Smoking This Way Could Lead to Brain Cancer, Study Finds — Best of Life Online