Mesothelioma and Smoking
Smoking does not cause mesothelioma, but the two create similarities regarding the damage they can do to your body. When they act in unison, the potential for damages is twofold.
The Dangers of Asbestos and Smoking
It is well known that smokers are 10 times more likely to develop cancer than non-smokers. Additionally, it is believed that asbestos exposure can make an individual five times more likely to get cancer. However, a smoker with a history of asbestos exposure has 50 times the chance of developing cancer. Having exposure to several carcinogens has a multiplying effect on the body, therefore leaving individuals at a high risk of having a cancer diagnosis.
It is believed that patients who are smokers are more likely to form lung-related illnesses than those who don’t. Smoking does not cause mesothelioma or other related diseases such as asbestosis, pleural scarring, and pleural effusion. However, because smoking harms the lungs, it can make asbestos exposure victims more vulnerable. Although asbestos is the primary factor in mesothelioma cases, smoking is considered to be the secondary factor, even though smoking alone cannot cause cancer of the mesothelium.
How Quitting Smoking Can Improve Your Prognosis
Doctors always suggest that mesothelioma patients immediately quit smoking. According to the National Cancer Institute, the risk of developing mesothelioma is reduced by 50 percent if the patient quits smoking for at least five years. Some oncologists believe that smoking will decrease the life expectancy of a patient and increase the symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, and painful coughing. Overall, smoking wrecks havoc on the respiratory system alone, and in combination with other hazardous experiences over an extended period of time, can only bring on illness.
If you were exposed to asbestos in the past, you may already be at risk and should be having regular checkups (mesothelioma blood tests or diagnostic imaging tests) with your doctor. Most treatment decisions are based on the age and physical health of the patients as well as the health of the lungs and heart. Any activities, such as smoking, that place strain on these organs can only make fighting diseases more challenging. Follow the doctor’s advice and quit.