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carolinagirl67's picture
carolinagirl67
Posts: 153
Joined: Jul 2009

Hello everyone,

My husband is in his second phase of treatment, the first round we finished in Sept but the PET showed areas in the chest that is now being treated with more chemo. I have read so much on this site about what everyone else has been going through and I want to do everything I can to keep me and my husband healthy. My question is I am just wondering how many of you are/were smokers. My husband smoked cigars and I don't smoke. He did test positive to HPV. Just curious how much the cigars played a role.

Thanks and Peace to you all!
Donna

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5608
Joined: Apr 2009

Good question, I gave up smoking 30 years ago but when I did smoke it was anything that could be lit on an end of a paper or smoked in a pipe. I have been wondering for a while if any of what I did back then could have had something to do with having cancer now

Always good to hear from you, God bless you both.

SASH's picture
SASH
Posts: 276
Joined: Apr 2006

2 cigars in college while playing poker.

micktissue's picture
micktissue
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 2009

Smoked in high school for about a year, but got second hand smoke every day form my parents. HPV+.

Best,

Mick

stevenl's picture
stevenl
Posts: 587
Joined: Jan 2010

Yes, I smoked for 40 years. I also am HPV+. Is that the cause? Maybe and I am sure it did not help, but there are many other factors that cause this. I.E., diet, activity just to mention a few.

Take care
Steve

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

When I was diagnosed in 2005, the literature I read said that 95% of head/neck cancers were the result of smoking or smoking/drinking. I am not sure that HPV was on the roadmap at the time, and if it was, it was not part of my diagnosis nor even mentioned.

The question is baffling, though, because it seems to me that the evidence for tobacco as a cause of cancer is beyond doubt. (Juries have agreed.)

If you ask because your husband is thinking of picking up the habit again, I would advise that his doctors might have considered not treating him at all if they knew he was going to continue the habit.

A guy on this board who goes by the name ratface wrote at one time about something called a cancer field. The theory, as I understand it from further research, is that once you have created a 'cancer field' via any number of avenues including both genetics and behavior that resulted in cancer, you are more likely to have cancer again. I have a problem with that in that I think you can do things to plow over that field, if you will. You can correct unhealthy behavior that fertilizes the field, for starters.

Smoking cigars, or any tobacco product that I know of, fertilizes the field, in my estimation.

Take care,

Joe

micktissue's picture
micktissue
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 2009

The so-called cancer field is at the root of the book AntiCancer which claims that our bodies can become a field ripe for the growth and spread of cancer. As well the book claims the field can be changed through diet, exercise, and mindfulness (the chapter 'the AntiCancer mind' is an inspiring read).

The author sites many peer-reviewed studies which show a causal relationship between poor diet, exercise, and the feeling of helplessness and cancer. Then again I know people who have smoked for many, many years, are obese, and are perpetually sad who still do not have cancer into their 80s. Go figure.

Clearly there are things we can do to limit exposure to cancer causing agents but at the end of the day there appear to be factors beyond our control that may still create this cancer field.

Best,

Mick

stevenl's picture
stevenl
Posts: 587
Joined: Jan 2010

I do not want anyone here to think that I believe smoking did not cause my cancer. It did, and I even helped it along with drinking beer and a poor diet. I am to blame for making stupid choices and being weak. But maybe, just maybe, I will beat this and get another chance to do the right things, and in so doing help someone else to be strong and overcome their weaknesses before it is too late for them. I hope so

Warmly, Steve

micktissue's picture
micktissue
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 2009

Your attitude is commendable and inspirational Steve. I takes a great deal of strength and courage to face up to things the way you are. You are already living up to helping others be strong by posting here and sharing your story and your path with all of us. I am fortunate to have found strength and resource in this community. I am grateful for all your contributions to my well being and help through this (often times) arduous path.

Warmly,

Mick

carolinagirl67's picture
carolinagirl67
Posts: 153
Joined: Jul 2009

He had three cigars on our honeymoon last year and when he came home is when he had the bad ear ache that led to the diagnosis of tonsil cancer. He had not smoked in over 20 years and has given up the cigars totally. I agree with you that I think you can turn around your field and get cancer free through behavoir. Thanks for the feed back and take care. Donna

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8052
Joined: Sep 2009

I never smoked or used tobacco products, but still got throat cancer as well. I did test out to it being HPV+ though. I have occasionally drank a few beers, but not much else for alcohol. Although I do know that diet, exposure to secondary sources and a variety of other things expose us to cancer, we all also carry cancer cells and HPV cells. It's just a matter of luck and the draw I think that cause them to become active.

Do I think that we as individuals could do more to lessen those chances, absolutely. Do I feel that we are completely in control of that destiny and able to eliminate everything imaginable to prevent us from getting cancer, absolutely not.

MarineE5
Posts: 744
Joined: Dec 2005

Donna,

This is a question that has many people scratching their heads for years. I just read some information on a site that states that there is 30 different types of HPV that can be transmitted sexually and a total of roughly 100 types of HPV . As Soccerfreak mentioned, this wasn't brought up with me when I spoke with the Specialist. And as Soccerfreak said, I'm not even sure this was even a consideration at that time in 2004 for me.

I'm not a smoker and never was. But, I often wondered about the effects of smoking and the cause of so much cancer. Just the thought of smoke in my lungs didn't seem healthy, so I didn't do it.

But what really causes people to get cancer from smoking ? I'm no scientist, just a curious person on different subjects during the day. I started thinking about Tobacco, and the cigarettes. Years ago when I was a kid, most of the cigarettes had no filters. Didn't seem like there were as many cases of lung cancers and throat cancers.

I started thinking that the filters might be the problem because as a person inhales the smoke, I feel that some tiny fibers escape the filter and lodge in the air way. Kind of like having fiberglass floating in the air and breathing it. Over many years of this, it has to wear on the body somewhere.

Another thought I have had is the earth is covered in a coat of uranium. Uranium also causes radon. Anyway, uranium is used in fertizier and used for tabacco farming. The uranium then gets into the roots of the tabacco plants and the smokers are inhaling small isotopes of radiation from the uranium.

These are a few things that I kick around in my head about this type of cancer, the head and neck cancers. It's just something I think about, any thoughts from the other survivors here ? I'm interested in your thoughts. I like to learn things, even this old dog can learn : )

My Best to You and Everyone Here

delnative's picture
delnative
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 2009

I (stupidly) started smoking tobacco at age 18, quit cold turkey at age 38. (Let's not talk about anything else that may have gone up in smoke, OK?)
I was 54 when I was diagnosed with Stage III SCC of the right tonsil with one lymph node involved, but my doc said HPV was the cause of my cancer. Whether tobacco played into it, weakened my resistance, whatever, remains unknown.
I also have been known to enjoy adult beverages with mucho gusto, yet another risk factor. Did that play a role in my cancer? Nobody knows.

--Jim in snowbound Delaware

debbiejeanne's picture
debbiejeanne
Posts: 2225
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi, Donna. Unfortunately, I was a smoker for 40 years and also drank beer ocassionaly. I believe with all my heart that those bad habits caused my cancer. I had throat cancer on the focal cord. I went thru 35 rad treatments. When I was diagnosed I didn't say anything or even ask one question because I didn't know what to ask. Once I found this stie, I learned the questions to ask very quickly. The peo[ple her have become my family. They know exactly what I'm talking about and know the answers to most, if not all, my questions.
Group, should I know the number for the rad I rec'd? Also, should my type of cancer have a "stage"?
Thanks my friends.
Debbie

Tanager75
Posts: 86
Joined: Aug 2009

I smoked for 25 years and basically made many poor choices. I have not smoked for over 10 years and have not drank for over 24. My doctor said that smoking, drinking, over weight and other behaviors did not help. He said that HPV was probably a big factor but he did not test for it citing my age and behavior as suggestive of the HPV link. Oh yea, cancer seems to run in my family. I have been making better choices the last 24 years, even better the last 10, now I'm committed to make even better choices (diet/exercise). I don't know that there is a point to this unless it to say cancer choose me though I can certainly see I left the door open.

Peace,

mark

Greend's picture
Greend
Posts: 679
Joined: Feb 2010

Never smoked and got tonsil cancer in 1996 age 45. I was around a lot of second hand smoke - ex wife among other things and possibly exposed to radiation when the nuke power plant blew up in Russia.

pk's picture
pk
Posts: 192
Joined: Aug 2009

I am soooooo far from an expert, but I do believe that my husband's cancer resulted from his many years of smoking - even tho he has not smoked for 20 yrs. His Drs. would also agree to this. BUT....then who really knows!!
However, not everyone who smokes - or drinks- is dealt this deal so please don't beat yourselves up!!!! There is no one or any HIGHER POWER that wishes cancer on anyone. It just happens! There are many who live risky lives (myself included) and never face the tough times that you have all been thru. Sometimes cancer (or other life altering diseases) just happens.
Live life NOW!!! Enjoy EVERYDAY!!! As we all should do, because who knows what may happen. Don't keep second guessing everything that has happened to you. None of us are so special that we cannot be affected by a life altering situation. JUST LIVE!!!!
Blessings on all of you. I hold you in my HEART everday!
PK

MaryRC's picture
MaryRC
Posts: 114
Joined: Feb 2010

I have never smoked in my life. My dad did when I was a kid. I have been a vegetarian for over 10yrs and a vegan for almost 2yrs. I am of normal weight. So here I am with head and neck cancer. I dont know if mine is HPV related yet.
Mary

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi there!!

I smoked for 40 yrs. And maybe had way too many drinks. I don't know if mine is HPV related either. I had squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer of the base of the tongue. I have no doubt that it started by my cigarette smoking. Of course I have stopped smoking and no alcoholic drinks. Ahhh...what a quiet life I now lead. lol!! But still alive!

Cindy

ratface's picture
ratface
Posts: 1231
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi all

I tried to find the research article so I could cite it but to no avail. Who knows where I read it. It was termed the "Field cannonization theory of cancer" It basically stated that for at least head and neck cancer from smoking and drinking we have essentially paved that road or field to be pre-disposed to cancer and will be more prone to happen again. At the time I was answering someones question about what were his chances of recurrence? Based on this theory our chances are stagering, around 22%. The cancer occurs because the alcohol erodes the mucous lining creating a fertile field for the carcinogen, the cigarette, to take root. I agree that behavior can diminish the statistics and certainly drinking should be avoided or done to a minimum and smoking would be ludicrous. I find it interesting that both "Jim" and I were both cognac drinkers. If that rocket fuel dosen't erode your mouth nothing will. The debate can take differrnt avenues and variables are sure to influence outcomes. I never read the book referenced in this thread and am not certain if it refers to the same theory.

Tricia02's picture
Tricia02
Posts: 130
Joined: Mar 2009

I smoked for 40 years plus and sobered up 21 years ago. Scientists here in UK have published findings that smoking and drinking are associated with many cancers, especially head and neck. Apparently the combination of both is the culprit. But hey life is terminal and whether we are veggies, vegans, macrobiotic whatever, nothing will prevent us from developing cancer if we are predisposed genetically. It's a lottery to a huge degree. But having had a cancer diagnosis, nasal septum carcinoma, and being warned by oncoman not to smoke again as it would excellerate my chances of a recurrence, its a no brainer for me and I havent smoked since diagnosis in August 05. Sometimes I yearn for one as my partner still smokes, but not in the house, he's relegated to the garage lol.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I found several articles online, RF, perhaps the most concise of them an abstract published by American Association for Cancer Research in 2003. Here is its text:

[The concept of "field cancerization" was first introduced by Slaughter et al. [D. P, Slaughter et al., Cancer (Phila.), 6: 963–968, 1953] in 1953 when studying the presence of histologically abnormal tissue surrounding oral squamous cell carcinoma. It was proposed to explain the development of multiple primary tumors and locally recurrent cancer. Organ systems in which field cancerization has been described since then are: head and neck (oral cavity, oropharynx, and larynx), lung, vulva, esophagus, cervix, breast, skin, colon, and bladder. Recent molecular findings support the carcinogenesis model in which the development of a field with genetically altered cells plays a central role. In the initial phase, a stem cell acquires genetic alterations and forms a "patch," a clonal unit of altered daughter cells. These patches can be recognized on the basis of mutations in TP53, and have been reported for head and neck, lung, skin, and breast cancer. The conversion of a patch into an expanding field is the next logical and critical step in epithelial carcinogenesis. Additional genetic alterations are required for this step, and by virtue of its growth advantage, a proliferating field gradually displaces the normal mucosa. In the mucosa of the head and neck, as well as the esophagus, such fields have been detected with dimensions of >7 cm in diameter, whereas they are usually not detected by routine diagnostic techniques. Ultimately, clonal divergence leads to the development of one or more tumors within a contiguous field of preneoplastic cells. An important clinical implication is that fields often remain after surgery of the primary tumor and may lead to new cancers, designated presently by clinicians as "a second primary tumor" or "local recurrence," depending on the exact site and time interval. In conclusion, the development of an expanding preneoplastic field appears to be a critical step in epithelial carcinogenesis with important clinical consequences. Diagnosis and treatment of epithelial cancers should not only be focused on the tumor but also on the field from which it developed.]

It is likely that such thinking, promulgated nearly 60 years ago, has some role in the thining of our doctors, those who insist that we give up smoking and drinking upon discovery of cancer (I would hope that if they are any good, they are suggesting such long before cancer is discovered, even if we choose to ignore them).

More recent research tends to give more weight to genetics and epigenetics (fascinating if only for the potential therein with respect to ALTERING our makeup to the degree that vaccines or at least cures might be available sooner than we think, to say nothing of the interesting parallel 'field theory' that is at the center of what is happening with epigenetics).

In any event, I suppose that this is why my doctors insisted that I stay on Nexium when my insurer was trying to get me to switch to an OTC. People have told me that Nexium coats the throat and my doctors agree (someone once posted in this board that Nexium coated the throat to such an extent that it would hide cancer, so I asked my ENT about it at our next appt and he dismissed that notion out of hand, which led me to realize just how much I was leaving my brain at home when it came to cancer-related advice).

As for the 22% you mention, RF, I think we should keep in mind that those odds, based on what I read of the theory, predict a one-in-five chance (roughly) of a LOCAL recurrence. The difference between a local recurrence and metastasis to other parts of the body may be the difference between life and death, as I know first hand, so it is an important distinction.

I am not giving shortshrift to that percentage, RF: it IS 'staggering' in a sense. Perhaps I am somewhat insulated due to the fact I may be one of those 22% (no conclusions about metastasis were available when the SCC was removed from my lung) and am still kicking and all of that, thus the distinction I note above.

Regardless of my own thinking on the subject, it is evident that we should ALWAYS do whatever we can to get rid of the stuff in the hope that it will be permanently removed. I would say that we should also stay vigilant for its return, but we, regrettably do too much of that without any help from one another.

Survival rates for SCC in the head/neck ARE much better than those for many other cancers and for SCC in other areas of the body, after all.

Interesting stuff. I should probably quit drinking or start taking my Nexium, or both :).

Take care,

Joe

Fire34
Posts: 350
Joined: Feb 2010

Never smoked a day in my life. Unless you count the secondhand smoke I smoked for 19 years. My dad was a 2 pack a day smoker. I also tested HPV +

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