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General : Cancer fears  
 Message 1 of 3 in Discussion 
From: Joel  (Original Message)Sent: 12/22/2005 5:40 PM


I am 31 years of age, after smoking since I was 16 and a half (amongst several previous attempts to quit) I finally quit smoking two weeks before my 31st birthday . I have now escaped the nicotine prison for just over 9 months and I can truly say I do not have the desire to smoke again. This awesome achievement is thanks to  me stumbling upon the "Why Quit"  web site, and from the information presented it also led to my own quest to educate myself  regarding the psychological, physical and neurological issues surrounding nicotine addiction. After gaining such knowledge I now fully understand that smoking/nicotine does nothing whatsoever for your physical and emotional well-being and therefore I am safe in the knowledge that I will never take another puff for the rest of my life. So again thanks for saving my life "why quit".

However, reading the horror stories of some unfortunate people  who have developed lung cancer and are featured on your site , I am constantly petrified that my attempt to stay off nicotine is in vain and that it is too late because of the fact that an ex-smoker can develop Lung cancer or other cancers within 20 years of quitting. This fear has also been borne out of developing symptoms of finding blood in my mouth upon waking, although you will be pleased to know this has been diagnosed by my doctor and ENT specialist as bleeding from my nose, caused by allergies and compounded by a deviated septum (this may have been uncovered by quitting). You also be pleased to know 5 months after quitting,as a precaution, and to ease my mind, I was given a state of the art CT scan of my sinuses and chest, and thankfully the doctor stated there was no worrying features whatsoever. However, as I said before, I have worked myself up in to a state of paranoia regarding possible cancers developeng in the future.

Has anybody else experienced  my fears and am I being irrational? I am quietly chuffed with my achievement, but would dearly love to shout it from the roof tops.

yours gratefully


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 Message 2 of 3 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/22/2005 5:57 PM
Hello Grant:
There are many ex-smokers who share your fears that they may still get lung cancer after their quit. By quitting though, they have taken the most powerful step that they could have to reduce the odds of this happening.
There are likely many more smokers who have fears of developing lung cancer, which often manifests in smokers totally avoiding going to their doctors even when they have symptoms or from going for chest x-rays because of the fear that this time the test will show something or just for the fear that the doctor is going to tell them to quit smoking.
Then there are those smokers who just continue smoking and seem to have no real fear about it. The sad thing is that these people have lots to fear and have either just deluded themselves that the risks are minimal or are too oblivious to the facts of just how dangerous smoking actually is.
I need to point out that cancer is just one of many conditions that smokers need to fear. The fact is more smokers will be affected by and die from circulatory diseases caused by smoking than will die from cancers induced from smoking.
The best advice I can give you is just to discuss your fears with your personal physician. If he or she ever feels that there is something happening that warrants further exploration he or she will know that it is important for your peace of mind to run whatever diagnostic tests that are available at the time. Just know though that by quitting smoking you really have taken the most important and powerful step that you could do to minimize your risks of developing lung cancer.
Related readings:

 Message 3 of 3 in Discussion 
From: JohnSent: 12/23/2005 9:04 PM
Hello Grant and congratulations on three seasons of freedom and healing.   What I find amazing is the fact that every puff has at least 43 known carcinogens in it, that with every puff I was building a bit bigger time bomb within this body but before I broke free I can't recall a single cigarette where I consciously thought to myself, "I'm adding more of the same cancer causing chemicals to the mix." 
Why is it that we don't seem to show serious interest in this issue until after we've broken free?  Where was our concern when the risks were headed in the opposite direction?  I know it has to do with the denial rationalizations and minimizations we resided between and used to justify that next fix but isn't it amazing how all of the sudden we care about whether or not we waited too long.
The following quote is from an e-mail I replied to a few hours ago.  She'll have quit for 11 months on the 1st and attended one of my bi-monthly seminars here in Charleston:
" I know the body is an amazing thing but I fear I have damaged my body too much from those nasty smokes. The fear is horrible!  The fear keeps me from smoking though.  Well that and the fact that now I am too proud of myself and would never want to quit again. NTAP!!!"
Sound familiar?   I guess a little fear can be a good thing.  I've been quit since May 15, 1999 and know that although many risks have substantially abated that I'm far from being out of the woods.  When I was where you are I had a degree of these fears too.  Today my thinking is a bit different.  If smoking is yet to claim me it will not do so with my killer still in my veins.  Whether I pass at 55 or 95 I'll leave free and me. 
Grant, this is one of my favorite Joel articles and it has weighed heavily in helping me to change the things I can control and accept the things I can't.  

Thank you so much for sharing your shared concern.  Still just one guiding principle for both of us, one that will always remain our common bond ... no nicotine today,  Never Take Another Puff!  

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long Grant!