Smoking, Cancer, and Chemotherapy

Adverse Effects Tobacco Has ON The Brain:

Like cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, nicotine increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which affects the brain pathways that control reward and pleasure. For many tobacco users, long-term brain changes induced by continued nicotine exposure results in addiction, a condition of compulsive drug seeking and use, even in the face of negative consequences. Studies suggest that additional compounds in tobacco, such as acetaldehyde, may enhance nicotine's effects on the brain. Studies indicate the adolescents are especially vulnerable to these effects and may be more likely than adults to develop an addiction to tobacco.


When people think of cancers caused by smoking, the first one that comes to mind is lung cancer. Close to 90% of lung cancer deaths are in men, with about 80% in women caused by cigarette smoking. There are several other forms of cancer.

· They include the oral cavity
· Pharynx
· Larynx
· Esophagus
· Bladder
· Stomach
· Cervix
· Kidney
· Pancreas
· And acute myeloid leukemia
· Head and neck
· Tongue
· Lip
· Mouth

Lung Cancer-The Big One:

The association between tobacco use and lung cancer stands as a classic in public health. On average, smokers increase risk of lung cancer between 5 and 10-fold and in developed countries, smoking is responsible for upwards of 80% of all lung cancers. Using American data 24% of men who smoke can expect to develop lung cancer during their expected lifetime.

Lung cancer remains a disease with a dismal prognosis. Although one-year all-stage survival is reported to have increased from 32% in 1973 to 41% in 1994, five year survival has remained unchanged at 14%.

Chemotherapy- One Form of Treatment for Cancer:

Chemotherapy is in general a way of treating cancer. People diagnosed with cancer undergo this therapy for their treatment. It is the most popular way of treating cancer worldwide. Chemotherapy is applied to treat leukemia and lymphoma.

Under chemotherapy, use of chemotherapy drugs or medicines is made to kill the cancer-causing cell or reduce their growth. Chemotherapy drugs are known as cytotoxic drugs.

Whenever a person is diagnosed as suffering from cancer, the possibility of he or she undergo some form of chemotherapy treatment is seemingly inevitable. The only question is how the cancer will be administered.

Chemotherapy treatment takes place in cycles. These cycles normally run between three to four weeks consecutively. Between the cycles, there are intervals of around the same time. The thinking behind this in conventional medicine is to allow the healthy cells to recover and reproduce, and the cancerous cells to die. The chemotherapy course of treatment is completed when the doctors are sufficiently sure that all the cancerous cells have been removed from the patient's body.

The dosage of chemotherapy administered is calculated by measuring the height and weight of the patient. Using this method, the doctors and tailor a program "tailor made" for each patient. However, the dose levels can be reduced or increased based on reactions experienced by the patient and routine tests carried out.

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