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Looking for stats on smoking after treatment

Posts: 46
Joined: Apr 2012

Hello, I'm new to this site but not new to other boards. I'm a 57 yr old female 20 months out with EC stage III. But I'm writing because my 54 yr old sister finished treatment in April for base of the tongue cancer, not sure the stage. It was in her neck lymph nodes. Anyway, she was a smoker and continues to smoke. I have been looking for stats on what that does to her chances. I'm sure it must decrease her odds, which from what I read were pretty good. Over 50 percent. Anyway, if anyone can direct me to a good site for this it might help in convincing her to quit.

Thank you

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8264
Joined: Sep 2009

Welcome Judy,

I'm not much into statistics as there are so many variables...why does one person that smokes one after another never develop H&N Cancer, an someone else that smokes much less get H&N Cancer.

Common sense would seem to dictate not smoking, especially after having had cancer and surviving the treatment.

It's an addiction, and one that I don't really think is going to allow your sister to change by looking at statistics.

Out of curiosity, I "presume" her first episode was tobacco related and no HPV derived cancer.

If that's the case I really doubt that anything is going to change her mind until she is ready to change.

I really don't mean to come across negatively..just my thoughts on it.

But, back to your original question;

Sorry, I had originally posted a few sites to support your request, but took them off... To me, it just doesn't fall into line with the positive enrgy, thoughts and direction and energy of this forum.


Posts: 46
Joined: Apr 2012

Thanks for your input. You are right it most likely wouldn't make a difference, but thought it might be worth a try. I know I was a sugar junkie and after reading that it was bad and cancer feeds off it, I all but gave it up. Will it make a difference ? Who knows, but at this stage I'm willing to try just about anything. Of course ESophagus cancer doesn't have very good survival rate period. I never heard if it was HPV related or not. I know she finished treatment in April and still can't taste anything or it tastes horrible so she isn't eating, just using feeding tube and I wonder how long that might go on.

Billie67's picture
Posts: 834
Joined: Jul 2012

I'm right with John on this, I don't think your sister wants to quit smoking and is not interested in hearing statistics. I think that is very sad but I think he's probably right. I've never smoked but ended up with H&N cancer which my dr says could be second hand smoke related as my tests for HPV were negative. I avoid smoke at all costs however I do know of another H&N patient who is back to smoking and drinking after his treatment. He fully believes treatment was a fix all and he didn't get cancer until he was in his late 30's so he has at least another 30 years before it would happen again. He is serious with this analogy and there is no talking him out of it. Maybe her doctors can offer her a patch if she's even interested in that.

As far as the feeding tube goes, we are all so different in that area. I finished in June and I have some tastes back. Anything sweet tastes horrible and swallowing is tough for me. My swallow study shows some muscle weakness from rads but we are going to be doing therapy for that starting this week. My feeding tube came out earlier than expected due to complications so now I am forced to eat or have another tube placed.....no thank you! I suspect your sisters smoking isn't helping with taste or swallow function but I'm no doctor. I know for sure it's not doing her any good tho.

I wish I could help you with a productive web site on this topic but sadly I don't know of one. Hopefully someone will post something here for you.
Good luck to you, your sister and your search.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8264
Joined: Sep 2009

I did PM you with some information....I didn't want to leave you hanging without knowledge, or assistance.

It sounds like she had radiation with the lack of taste for this long... That should improve (though I believe that smoking might add to that loss of taste).

She does need to try and eat to keep the swallow muscles working. One can lose the ability to swallow in some instances if they aren't used.

Have you tried any post treatment cancer support groups. Those can be very good for support, plus sometimes there's a certain amount of knowledge and exposure of other lifestyles and healtheir choices.

Good luck on your quest, and awesome that you have the love to try and make a difference in your sister's health and survival.


longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

from her ENT oncologist. They are pretty straightforward on this topic. Of course, continued smoking increases the odds of a second malignancy. And that increase is on the order of about 5% per year. The percent of people who quit after having a cold hard look at death during this treatment is less than you would think. sign me:

a former smoker (Pat)

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 3417
Joined: May 2012

Hi Judy,

(Unofficially), Matt statistics say putting hot smoke into your delicate lungs is 100% bad for you. To continue to smoke after H&N cancer crosses the border in to reckless behavior. To be addicted to substance abuse is the making of a popular TV program.

Heck, I am blowing smoke here; your sister knows the fact, the good, the bad and the ugly. You are to be admired for your caring nature and thank goodness you survived your own bout with cancer. Maybe, she will come around.



hwt's picture
Posts: 2280
Joined: Jun 2012

She has to come to the decision on her own but she is fortunate to have a caring sister, like you.

blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

I've read a lot of sad things on these boards...but honestly, not being able to quit smoking even after having gone through oral cancer is one of the saddest. addiction is a terrible thing.
bless you and your sister.

Posts: 46
Joined: Apr 2012

Thanks and wishing you all continued success in your battles. I'm hoping my sister is going to see the light. I know in my own battle with EC cancer it has taken many different turns physically and emotionally . It takes time to come to terms with what is actually happening. Look for me to pop in once in awhile to check in.


Posts: 1911
Joined: May 2012

Hey there, I can commiserate with your sisters plight. I am a smoker...trying hard to quit. No...it's not good for us, and this has been my only vice for over 40 yrs. I too am a H/N survivor. Was just in to a lung specialist that made no sense...you have to quit for your health, but it probably won't make a difference now. What ? Are you for real ? When I started, there wasn't a link between cancer and cigerettes. Heck, during exams with doctors they not all, smoked in the office with us. O.K. just gave my age away ! I also have a cancer that is not linked to smoking...yeah, stats for mine isn't real good. So there are days when I light up because I think, it's gonna take me anyway. Dumb Katie ! This is an addicts thinking...(maybe) but saying this I know you love her very much, as I do mine. She can't accept yet that she needs to quit, and stats just make it worse. Continue to support her, but please take care of yourself ! Will be trying hard myself to be smoke free....and let her know there are others trying just like her to quit for good ! Katie

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8264
Joined: Sep 2009

At least you are aware, can admit that you have a problem with them, and you are trying to do something about it.

That's huge!!

Hoping for your success....


fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

Katie, i am proud of you for know you need to take care of self and stop smoking.

i don't think down the road you want to say to self, i wish i had stopped when i was diagnosed. you do not want it to come back and neither do i want it to come back to you. so i challenge you now to stop, make it better for you and better for your family that you will be around alot longer.

go ahead and make our days and stop smoking.


by the way, i did not smoke before diagnosis and still had my first war against cancer 16 plus years ago. since that day i do not hang out where there is second had smoke. surprise i am still here. before that diagnosis i hung with co workers in construction and they smoked all the time. i can't say smoking is bad, but sure seems to me that not smoking or not hanging around second hand smoke is better for me

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