Smoking causes a number of diseases and is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women. Research also has shown that there may be link between very heavy second-hand smoke exposure and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women.
Smoking also can increase complications from breast cancer treatment, including:
- damage to the lungs from radiation therapy
- difficulty healing after surgery and breast reconstruction
- higher risk of blood clots when taking hormonal therapy medicines
Steps you can take
If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, use every resource you can find to help you quit. Knowing about all of the problems associated with smoking isn't always enough to make you quit. Smoking is a habit that's very hard to break. Fortunately, if you're serious about trying, you have lots of help:
- The American Lung Association offers a free online smoking cessation program. The American Cancer Society also has a quit smoking program. You can also call the ACS "quitline," at 1-800-ACS-2345, to get support and free advice on how to stop smoking from trained counselors.
- Medicines to help you quit can be taken as a pill, chewed as gum, or worn as a patch on the skin. Ask your doctor if one of these might be right for you.
- Acupuncture and meditation may help ease cigarette cravings.
- It's also easier if you have a friend who's also quitting or who can cheer you on when you're feeling you can't make it on your own.