Onco Life Article 5: Willpower alone not enough to quit smoking

Onco Life Center Media Article 5

‘Willpower alone not enough to quit smoking’

By Ida Nadirah        ida@mmail.com.my

Kuala Lumpur- As 80 percent of lung cancer cases were caused primarily by smoking, oncologist Dr. Christina Ng said it takes more than willpower to kick off the habit.

Dr. Ng, who is the founder and president of Empowered-The Cancer Advocacy Society of Malaysia, said the pharmacological approach along with chances for one to quit smoking.

“I would suggest for those who want to quit, they should seek quit-smoking clinics that can help target the quitting of the habit more effectively,” she said when met recently.

Dr. Ng said the government’s Stop Smoking Service is offered at health clinics and government hospitals.

She said in the cases of youngsters who have picked up the habit, the community has to understand the root problem of why a person smokes.

“We need to probe what made them keep the habit, knowing it is unhealthy- is it peer pressure, lack of supervision, lack of role modelling, or sheer lack of understanding what this is all about.”

“Maybe we need more empowering ways to understand how they can creatively adopt a healthier lifestyle.”

Dr. NG said there are many toxic and carcinogenic mixtures in tobacco smoke and at least 70 of the toxins are known to be the cause of lung cancer.

“That is why it is important to quit smoking as the risk decreases over time when one quits,” She said.

However, Dr. Ng said the risk of lung cancer would still exist in those who have quit smoking in comparison to a person who have never smoked before.

She said due to the advancement in medical technology, even a stage four lung cancer patient now has more options and better treatment.

Dr. Ng said the new discovery of the identification of a biomarker in cancer cells have made the treatment of cancer better than a decade ago.

“The treatment of cancer is now more tailored and is no longer one size fits all,” she said.

“We now approach the treatment, according to the general type of cancer, the extent of it and identifying the biomarker, which can help in the use of appropriate molecular therapies that would be effective on the expression of the bookmakers on the cancer cells.”

There are two general types if the lung cancer – non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer – based on the physical appearance of the cells viewed under the microscope.

Dr. Ng said 20 per cent of lung cancer are of small cell lung cancer, which was mostly related to smoking cigarettes.

“In specific terms, lung cancer can be treated in the form of surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or combination of methods depending on the extent and type of cancer,” she said.

With the treatment advancement, Dr. Ng said this offers more hope for the patients with the medications that can target very specific within the cancer cells and enable the cells to be effectively arrested.

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