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Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada, with 85% of lung cancer cases being caused by smoking. It also has one of the lowest survival rates: just 17% of people diagnosed with lung cancer survive for 5 years or more.

And yet, despite the risks associated with smoking, it can be incredibly difficult to quit. Withdrawal, cravings and mood swings are all unpleasant side effects that come along with tossing the tobacco. In fact, quitting is one of the biggest challenges a smoker will face, but it is also one of the best ways to reduce the risk of cancer.

Lisa Thompson from Sault Ste. Marie, knows all too well how difficult it can be to overcome the addiction. A casual smoker for over 20 years, Lisa realized she needed to quit 3 years ago after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Through her intensive treatment regimen, which included a mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy, she was able to quit smoking.

Unfortunately, after she completed her treatment, Lisa began smoking again. She realized that she needed some support to quit successfully, so she reached out to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Smokers’ Helpline on the advice of one of her medical professionals. Quitlines, such as Smokers’ Helpline, more than double the likelihood of quitting successfully.  

Lisa quit smoking on May 31, 2016 as part of the First Week Challenge Contest, and has been smoke-free ever since.  

“When you put all of your energy and strength into it, it’s not so hard,” explains Lisa. “Smokers’ Helpline gives me an edge because it keeps me accountable.”

The First Week Challenge Contest is a health promotion campaign conducted by the Canadian Cancer Society and McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson, makers of Nicorette and Nicoderm. Smokers and tobacco users commit to making a quit attempt for the first seven days of the month for the opportunity to win a $500 cash prize. Lisa’s hard work was rewarded in August when she won that month’s prize.

Once a smoker makes it through the first week smoke-free, they are 9x more likely to quit for good, and these days, Lisa is feeling great. “My chest congestion and cough are pretty much gone,” she says. “And now I’m not mentally hooked on trying to feed my addiction, which gives me a free mind and more energy.”

If you or someone you know is trying to quit smoking, call 1-877-513-5333 to speak to a Quit Coach, or click here for more information on the free services and programs that can help you quit.