Mesothelioma and Smoking- Is there a Connection?

Mesothelioma Smoking Risk

Various studies carried out over the past two decades have found no significant relationship between smoking and mesothelioma. According to these studies, smoking does not in any way increase a person’s risk of developing mesothelioma, which is one of the rarest and deadliest forms of cancer.

Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma.

However, even though smoking does not cause mesothelioma, the relationship between smoking and other forms of asbestos-related diseases is well established.

“Tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of chemicals and many of them are very harmful. Around 70 of them cause cancer.”

Research indicates that cigarette smokers who have been exposed to asbestos are approximately 50-84 times more likely to develop asbestos-related lung cancer.

One study monitored the mortality rates of 1250 male and 420 female participants who worked in an asbestos factory. Their smoking habits were also assessed. The study revealed that although there was an undeniable relationship between smoking and mesothelioma, the risk of someone developing this cancer is completely independent to smoking.

This study further revealed that smoking actually does present a significant risk factor in people who are already at a high risk of developing mesothelioma.

Therefore, while smoking might not directly cause mesothelioma, it definitely does increase your risk of developing one of the most aggressive cancers, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related diseases.

Effects of Smoking and Possible Increased Risk of Mesothelioma

As stated earlier, smoking does not directly cause asbestos cancer. However, it’s highly possible that this habit can affect the lungs in a way that makes it easy for asbestos fibers to become lodged and cause severe inflammation, leading to cancer.

These effects include;

  • Weakening of the Lung Tissue: Because smoking weakens the lung tissue, it makes it much easier for asbestos fiber to become embedded in the mesothelium lining of the lungs.
  • Increased Mucus Production: Cigarette smoking is known to irritate air passages which as a result triggers the production of mucus. The excess mucus produced blocks the airways and limits the lungs ability to cleanse themselves. This can be detrimental to a person’s health.

Decreased Overall Health

Cigarette smoke affects a person’s health in many ways. This means that with poor health, a person may not be in a good position to fight mesothelioma.

It actually affects mesothelioma prognosis in a big way.

So it’s highly advisable to quit smoking after a mesothelioma diagnosis to increase your chances of recovering.

Smoking and Mesothelioma Prognosis

We have learnt that smoking present a significant risk factor to people who are at a risk of developing mesothelioma or those who have already been diagnosed with the disease.

What this means that smoking does impact on mesothelioma prognosis; and in a number of ways.

One, smoking affects the overall health of an individual. With a weak immune system, the body’s ability to fight the cancer and other asbestos-related diseases becomes largely limited.

Another reason is that cigarette smoke is loaded with dangerous carcinogens that cause genetic changes in affected cells, which in turn support and accelerate tumor growth, and also affect a person’s life expectancy.

The Importance of Quitting Smoking After Mesothelioma Diagnosis

If you have been recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, it would be a good decision to quit smoking.

Quitting may not reverse the effects of the cancer, but it may improve its prognosis. Furthermore, smoking can actually limit the body’s ability to support aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Be sure to inform your doctor about your smoking habit before any treatment is initiated.

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