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Make Memories for Years to Come: Quit Smoking and Reduce Your Risk of Colon Cancer

Rachel Morrell

Make Memories for Years to Come: Quit Smoking and Reduce Your Risk of Colon Cancer

It is hard to believe that it is almost time to say goodbye to 2017. Now is a good time to reflect on the memories of the previous year and to look forward to 2018.

New Year’s Resolutions are our traditional way to make a fresh start and set goals for the next 12 months. Most Americans have a health-related goal as their #1 resolution. One of the most rewarding health goals you can set this year is to quit smoking. Smoking affects virtually every organ in the body. And along with increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis and peripheral artery disease, smoking also increases your susceptibility to colon cancer.

Cigarettes include over 400 toxic chemicals and 43 carcinogens. Cancer-causing compounds in cigarette smoke damage DNA in healthy colon cells and can promote the development of intestinal polyps. The type of polyps caused by cancer tend to be more aggressive and are known as flat adenomas. They develop in both light and heavy smokers. Not only do smokers have a higher risk of developing colon cancer, they have an increased risk of colon cancer recurrence and an increased risk of dying from the disease.

Almost 70 percent of smokers admit that they want to quit smoking, but staying smoke-free is a challenging feat. The American Lung Association developed the following suggestions on how to effectively quit smoking:

  1. Write down your reasons for quitting. Besides reducing the risk of colon cancer, quitting smoking will save you money and improve your breath and the health of your skin. Did you know that if you quit, your lung health will begin to improve within 20 minutes of your last cigarette? Writing down your reasons and keeping them in a visible location will fuel your motivation throughout the quitting process.
  2. Choose a “Quit Date.” Studies show that choosing a Quit Date is more successful than quitting cold turkey because it allows time for you to build a plan for quitting that accommodates your personality and lifestyle.
  3. Identify your smoking triggers. Look for patterns leading to the urge to smoke, and write them down. Then, you can make a plan to avoid the triggers that bring on the urge to smoke. It might help to remember that smoking urges last about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Talk to a doctor. Ask your doctor to view your quit plan and give you information on other helpful methods or medications to help you quit smoking.
  5. Build a support team. It can be very challenging to do this alone, so enlist the help of those you love. In a 2015 survey, 80 percent of smokers trying to quit said that support from family and friends significantly helped them to quit smoking.
  6. Keep trying. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake or your resistance gets too thin. Just stick with it!

There are 50 million ex-smokers in the United States, so take confidence in that statistic. Make a new commitment to your health in 2018 and quit smoking for the sake of your colon health. Start planning now so you can feel fully prepared for your Quit Date, and get ready for the best year of your life! (Source: American Lung Association).

Related Articles:

4 Steps to Colon Cancer Prevention
Why E-Cigarettes May Not Lower Your Cancer Risk
Say No to Smoking and Cut Your Risk of Colon Cancer

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