If you are having treatment for cancer, stopping smoking may help the treatment work better. It can help your body respond to the treatment and heal more quickly. You are also likely to have fewer side effects from cancer treatment if you do not smoke and they also tend to be less severe. Stopping smoking may also lower the risk of cancer coming back after treatment.
Stopping smoking before surgery
If you smoke and are due to have surgery, your surgeon will talk to you about the benefits of giving up smoking before your operation. It is best to stop smoking 8 weeks before having surgery. But even stopping a few weeks before and not smoking after surgery will reduce the risk of complications.
The more you smoke and the longer you have smoked, the more likely it is that you will develop problems during and after surgery. If you smoke, you have a higher risk of wound problems and complications after surgery. This is because smoking damages blood vessels.
If you stop smoking before having surgery:
- you are likely to recover more quickly
- you are more likely have a shorter stay in hospital
- your wound is likely to heal more quickly.
All hospitals will give you help and support to stop smoking.
Stopping smoking during radiotherapy
Research has shown that stopping smoking during and after radiotherapy may make the treatment more effective. It can also reduce the side effects of radiotherapy.