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Ask An Expert

Ask an Expert: Benefits of smoking cessation at any age

Q: "My 65-year-old father has been smoking for decades and refuses to quit. He knows smoking causes cancer but says quitting will do no good because the damage is already done. Would quitting now do anything to reduce his risk?"

Ask an Expert: Best bets to help you quit smoking for good

Q: “I’ve tried to quit smoking several times, but it never sticks. With Oregon’s new smoking ban in effect, I’m ready to be done with it. Are there any new drugs or programs that can improve my results? What is the most effective, proven way to quit for good?”

Answer from Meera Jain, M.D., co-medical director, Providence Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program:

Ask an Expert: Can a three-year smoker become as healthy as a lifelong nonsmoker?

Q: “I’m 23 years old, and the thing I regret most is putting that first cigarette in my mouth. I’ve been smoking for three years, 18 to 25 cigarettes a day. Today, I decided to quit. In three years of smoking, how much did I damage my body? Is there any chance of becoming as healthy as a lifelong nonsmoker?”

Ask an Expert: Cancer prevention for the ex-smoker

Q: "I quit smoking 15 years ago after smoking a pack or two a day for 28 years. Now I want to do all I can to lessen the effects of my earlier bad habits. Are there any dietary measures, supplements or other strategies you know of that may help prevent cancer?"

Ask an Expert: Chemotherapy and insomnia

Q: I'm undergoing chemo, and though I am experiencing heavy-duty fatigue, I am also suffering from insomnia! Sometimes it's hard to fall asleep; other nights I wake up around 3 a.m. for an hour or two. My medical oncologist said chemo can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle and prescribed Ambien. I don't like the idea of relying on a sleeping pill. Anything else I can do?

Answer from Miles Hassell, M.D., director of Providence Integrative Medicine at Providence Cancer Center:

Ask an Expert: Concerns of a first-time smoker

Q: “I’m 17, and I've smoked twice in my life, both times last month. Now I’m coughing and my chest has a raw feeling to it. I’m not coughing up blood and I don't have shortness of breath, but I did hold the smoke in my mouth, and I breathed a little second-hand smoke, too. Could I have lung cancer?”

Ask an Expert: If there’s no lung cancer in your family history, is it safe for you to smoke?

Q: "Both of my parents smoked their entire lives and never developed lung cancer. My father's parents were the same. With this family history, do I still need to worry about lung cancer? I only smoke about a pack a week."

Ask an Expert: Lung cancer growth and spread

Q: "How long does it take for lung cancer to develop, and can I determine when mine started growing?"

Ask an Expert: Lung cancer treatment

Q: “I was a lifelong smoker until last week, when I found out that I have lung cancer. Now I’m in fear for my life. What treatment approach do you recommend? Is there any hope for successful treatment?”

Ask an Expert: Shortness of breath following lung cancer surgery

Q: "I was diagnosed with lung cancer six months ago and underwent surgery as part of my treatment. Since then I find myself getting short of breath very easily. Will this go away with time?" 

Ask an expert: Why do nonsmokers get lung cancer?

Q: “I know two women who have lung cancer, and neither of them has ever smoked. How could this happen to them? I thought lung cancer was caused by smoking.”

Ask an Expert: Why does cancer come back?

Q: “If lung cancer is caught in the early stage and removed surgically, how does it come back? My surgeon said that he removed it all and there was no cancer in the nodes — but now it’s back. Why?”

Forms Instructions

Proprietary Health Article

Crizotinib may be a powerful weapon against lung cancer

In early studies, nearly 90 percent of patients with an ALK genetic mutation responded to the drug, which targets metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. – By Rachel E. Sanborn, M.D., co-medical director, Providence Thoracic Oncology Program

Promising developments in lung cancer screening

A large national study reports that suspicious findings were three times greater with CT scans than with chest X-rays. – By Rachel E. Sanborn, M.D., medical oncologist

Providence Stop-Smoking Resources

If you smoke, one of the most important steps you can take to improve your health is to quit smoking. Providence Health & Services supports you in this effort. The resources below can help you stop smoking for good.

Smoking: You CAN kick the habit – and we can help

You already know that smoking is unhealthy. The word has been out since the first Surgeon General’s Report in 1964. One out of four smokers will die from their tobacco addiction. More than 420,000 will die this year. It is the single most preventable cause of death or illness in our country.

Studying apricoxib with erlotinib for lung cancer

A trial testing apricoxib with erlotinib showed longer survival in younger patients with metastatic lung cancer, but failed to meet its goal. – By Rachel E. Sanborn, M.D., medical oncologist

The Benefits of Stopping Smoking

Imagine, for a moment, being inside your lungs, watching the millions of tiny hairs called cilia do their job of filtering out impurities. Then, observe as the smoke from one cigarette invades the lungs, paralyzing the cilia for 24 hours.

The Risks of Smoking - and the Benefits of Quitting

Let’s get specific: Review this chart to remind yourself of the risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting.

Recommended Resource

American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society’s home page with links to all types of cancer, symptoms, treatment options, statistics trials and ways to contribute. 

American Cancer Society: Guide to Quitting Smoking

The American Cancer Society’s guide to quitting smoking including questions people need to know about quitting and the steps to do so.

American Lung Association

The American Lung Association website is a patient and care provider resource with information about respiratory illnesses from asthma to emphysema. Includes causes, warning signs and symptoms, research and patient care treatment resources.

CancerCare.org

Cancer Care is a national nonprofit that provides free, professional support services for anyone affected by cancer.

EPA: Health Effects of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and exposure to secondhand smoke is sometimes called involuntary or passive smoking. Secondhand smoke contains more that 4,000 substances, several of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals.

Healthfinder.gov: Smoking Cessation

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services resource page on Smoking Cessation including a quick guide to healthy living and tools to quit.

KidsCope.org

The KidsCope website explains the non-profit program designed to help children and families understand the effects of cancer or chemotherapy on a loved one.

Look Good, Feel Better

This website is a free, non-medical service program created to help individuals with cancer look good, improve their self-esteem and manage their treatment and recovery with greater confidence.

Medline Plus: Quitting Smoking

U.S. National Library of Medicine Medline Plus topic tool on quitting smoking. Provides a guide, overview, research and resources.

Medline Plus: Smoking

U.S. National Library of Medicine Medline Plus topic tool on what smoking is and does to the body.

National Cancer Institute

National Cancer Institute home page with links to all cancer topics, clinical trial information, statistics, research and treatment information.

National Cancer Institute Prevention and Cessation of Cigarette Smoking: Control of Tobacco Use

National Cancer Institute’s overview of Prevention and steps for how to get into a cessation program.

National Cancer Institute Smoking Quitline

National Cancer Institute’s page on free resources available to help someone quit smoking, including the national Quit Line.

Quitnet

Quitnet is an online community dedicated to quitting smoking. It includes a community room, resources, tools and support for people who want to quit online.