Health Plus: Stop smoking and reverse the damage - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Stop smoking and reverse the damage


Nearly 90 percent of lung cancer cases are linked to smoking.

Doctors say putting the cigarettes down can not only save your life, it can reverse the damage tobacco has done up to this point.

In Health Plus, results from research on the best ways to quit.

As a doctor at Covenant's Cancer Treatment Center in Waterloo, Cassandra Foens treats eastern Iowans with lung cancer.  80 to 90 percent of them got the disease from smoking.

"You talk about lung cancer, there aren't a lot of survivors and I think there's a lot of guilt because people think they've done it to themselves with the smoking," said Foens.

Tobacco use is the number one cause of death worldwide that can be prevented.


Stop smoking and you can reverse the damage already done.

"You can reverse many of the risks within a day or two of stopping smoking. Your blood pressure can go down. You can start to clear some of the carbon monoxide out of your blood. Within weeks your lung function can improve. It does take many years for your lung cancer risk to go down. But it, too, will go down if you stop," she said.

New research shows people trying to quit need to just stick it out a little longer with treatment options.

"It is very hard. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances out there. There's no doubt about that. Most folks really haven't tried all of the options that are out there. Obviously nicotine replacement, either the patch or gum, but there are better methods of administering nicotine that are prescription that may work better. There's been evidence that certain antidepressants help. The new drug Chantix does work. And I have had patients for whom it works."

If you are ready to kick your smoking habit, call the Iowa Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.


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