Quitting Smoking Helps Prevent Colon Cancer

Rachel Morrell

Hands Breaking Cigarette in half

Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop colon cancer and to die from the disease. If you smoke, quitting can reduce your risk.

Smoking Cigarettes Linked to Cancer Risk

Smoking is more than just a bad habit. Did you know just one cigarette contains over 4,000 chemicals and 50 cancer-causing toxins? Cigarettes and tobacco expose the cells in your body to free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage DNA and cause mutations. These cellular changes make you more susceptible to stroke, heart disease, emphysema, aneurysms and many types of cancer.

What is the Great American Smokeout?

If you are a smoker, consider quitting alongside thousands of Americans on November 15 during the Great American Smokeout. This nationwide initiative began over 40 years ago and remains one of the most successful smoking cessation programs. Supported by the American Cancer Society, the Great American Smokeout organizes parades and gatherings throughout the country and distributes information and resources to help people stop smoking. 

Smoking and Colon Cancer

Quitting smoking can greatly decrease your risk of colon cancer, the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Each year, an estimated 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer and about 50,000 people die from the disease.

Your daily choices make a significant impact on your colon cancer risk. Research shows people who smoke are at equal risk for colon cancer as those with a first-degree relative with the disease. You cannot control risk factors like family history or your age, but you can alter your habits like cutting out cigarettes, limiting alcohol, improving your diet, and getting regular colonoscopies beginning at age 45 or younger.

Celebrate the Great American Smokeout by creating a plan to quit smoking. The Great American Smokeout always takes place on the third Thursday of November, but you can start making your plan to quit today. You can find additional information and resources on the American Cancer Society website.

When you give up smoking, you’ll be making a commitment to your overall health. As part of this new commitment, why not make sure you’re up to date on all of your health screenings? Most adults who are at average risk for colon cancer should begin screening at age 45, but certain risk factors may necessitate earlier testing. Is it time for you to schedule your colon cancer screening? If so, click here to locate a GI specialist in your area and make an appointment and schedule a colonoscopy.

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Smoking and Colon Cancer

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