Smoking Cessation

Benefits of Quitting Smoking for People with Cancer

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to help your cancer treatment.

Quitting smoking also reduces the chance of your cancer coming back or getting another form of cancer. Whether you are scheduled to have surgery, radiation treatment or chemotherapy, quitting smoking will help you.

How Quitting Helps Your Cancer Treatment:

Radiation therapy
  • Radiation therapy works better if the level of oxygen in your body is normal. When you smoke, the level of oxygen in your blood drops, making it harder for radiation to do its job.
  • If you can’t stop smoking, avoid smoking before and after your radiation therapy.


  • Chemotherapy drugs work better in people who don’t smoke.
  • Smoke has chemicals in it that reduce the blood level of some chemotherapy drugs, making them less effective.


  • Quitting smoking or reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke can make surgery safer and help you recover more quickly. If possible, try to quit at least 6 to 8 weeks before your operation. But quitting at any time is helpful.
  • People who don’t smoke:
    o are less likely to have complications during or after their surgery
    o are less likely to develop infections and are more likely to heal quickly
    o may get better faster and go home sooner

The best way to quit smoking is using both counselling and medication, which can triple your chance of success.

Help your cancer treatment work better.

A good start:
  • Contact Canadian Cancer Society’s Smokers’ Helpline: 1-877-513-5333 or
  • Book an appointment with your family doctor to discuss your plan to quit smoking.
  • Your local pharmacist may also be helpful in your plan to quit smoking.

*Carlo Fidani Regional Cancer Centre or Trillium Health Partners, Queensway Health Centre Oncology Clinic Patients:

Talk to your cancer care team about how to quit smoking or stay smoke free. It's never too late to quit! Ask your Primary Nurse, Radiation Therapist or Doctor about the Quit Smoking Education Program or for more information call 905-813-1100 ext. 3050.

Helpful Links:
Get self-help brochures and fact sheets from:

For more information on the benefits of quitting smoking for people with cancer, please visit