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Old 12-21-2003, 06:46 PM   #4
Tobias Tobias is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 481
Tobias HB User
Re: More than 10 years = too late

Human chimney, methinks your doctor is not helping but rather is scaring you and has apparently instilled enough doubt in your mind that you now think it's not worth the trouble to quit. IT IS WORTH THE TROUBLE.

I will use my situation as an example to illustrate the Sloan-Kettering Lung Cancer Risk Assessment program which can be used to assess the risk of contracting lung cancer in the next 10 years for people:
Age: 50 to 75 years old
Smoking History: 10 to 60 cigarettes a day for 25 to 55 years
Current Status: Current smokers, and former smokers who quit 20 years ago or less

Yes, I realize that you don't fit this profile and therefore can't use the calculator. Bear with me.

I plugged my numbers into this calculator: 60 yrs old, smoked 38 yrs, smoked 20 cigs a day, quit 2 years ago. The calculator result is that my risk of lung cancer in the next 10 years is 3%.

I think it would have been more accurate for your doctor to tell you that, while the risk of heart disease is immediately reduced with smoking cessation, the risk of cancer does not decrease at all for awhile. You'll always be at a higher risk of cancer than never-smokers. But I think he was irresponsible to tell you that you had a 100% chance of cancer at age 40 or whatever. That kind of statement is certain to make the patient say "what the hell, I guess I won't bother quitting since I'm gonna die any way". Not only irresponsible but I think that statement is inaccurate.

So what? I can tell you that whatever life I have left is infinitely better as a non-smoker than it would be as a smoker. As a smoker I was a social pariah, coughed, smelled bad, was short of breath, got frequent colds (and they lasted longer). I haven't coughed since I quit 2 yrs ago. The only cold I got was so mild I hardly noticed. I no longer huff and puff when climbing stairs. Food tastes better. I no longer organize my life around my habit.

I hope you don't let this keep you from quitting.

Last edited by Tobias; 12-22-2003 at 01:37 PM.