Smoking and Mesothelioma
Patients with mesothelioma and a history of smoking may improve their life expectancy by quitting smoking and taking advantage of available life-prolonging treatment.
Does Smoking Make Mesothelioma Worse?
Smoking is not directly linked to mesothelioma, but it does have an effect on a patient’s ability to fight their disease. If you are a smoker who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, quitting smoking now can have a significant impact on your prognosis.
Benefits of Quitting
Quitting, even after years of smoking, can still have a positive effect on a patient’s life expectancy. Treatment is more effective the healthier a patient is, and quitting smoking is an obvious first step to being healthier.
Mesothelioma can be a painful disease, which is only compounded by a smoking habit. Smoking heightens the symptoms of mesothelioma, so quitting can give the patient a better quality of life.
Doctors can help the patient quit smoking. It is important to talk to them if they haven’t already offered help. They should be able to suggest or provide nicotine replacement therapy and support. Find a mesothelioma specialist who can help you make changes to improve your prognosis now.
What Is the Relationship Between Smoking and Mesothelioma?
Currently, the consensus is that smoking does not increase the chances of getting mesothelioma. Several studies over the past decades have found no significant relationship between smoking habits and the development of mesothelioma.
Even though smoking does not increase the chances of someone getting mesothelioma, this isn’t true of other asbestos-related diseases.
Although it is not a direct cause of mesothelioma, smoking does introduce carcinogens into the body. This can cause genetic changes and in turn, support tumor growth and affect life expectancy.
A Potential Relationship Between Smoking and Mesothelioma?
Recent studies have found there may be a link between smoking and the BAP1 tumor gene that is expressed in many mesothelioma patients. One study showed that a notable portion of participants with this genetic mutation had a history of smoking.
The significance of the BAP1 gene is the relationship between those who have the mutation and their susceptibility of developing mesothelioma. The theory is that smoking may mutate this gene, increasing the likelihood of developing mesothelioma. when there is asbestos exposure involved.
It is also worth noting that the results of the relationship between mesothelioma and the BAP1 gene, regardless of smoking history, found no significant effect on overall survival.
Further studies are required to fully determine the relationship between smoking and mesothelioma, but for now the consensus that there is no relationship between the two points of view.
Coincidental Factors Shared by Mesothelioma Patients and Smokers
The demographic of those who are more likely to get mesothelioma are also in the demographic of those more likely to have a history of tobacco use. However, this is considered just a coincidental relationship. Some of the factors shared between those most likely to smoke and those most likely to develop mesothelioma are:
- Age – Older people are most likely to get mesothelioma and they were also young during the time when smoking rates were highest in the country.
- Military service – Veterans have a history of smoking more than the average American. They are also exposed to more asbestos than the average American.
- Occupation – People working in trades have high rates of smoking as well as high rates of asbestos exposure due to the products they worked with.
- Gender – Men smoke more than woman. They also have higher rates of mesothelioma due to factors above like trade occupations are mostly staffed with men.
These factors all relate to groups most commonly associated with smoking and developing mesothelioma. Men over the age of 65 were in their twenties during the highest rates of smoking in the U.S. This is compounded because men in their twenties are also one of the most likely groups to smoke. Lastly, those in the military or working in trade occupations are more likely to smoke.
Adult Smoking Trends Over Time
This is worth noting because it illustrates that many mesothelioma patients are or were smokers. There are also many mesothelioma patients with a history of smoking who have outlived their prognosis.