Tobacco is commonly known as the leaves that are used for cigarettes. Although tobacco has become synonymous to smoking, there are other ways to consume this. It can be sniffed as a fine powder or chewed in bigger pieces.
Statistics from all over the world show that tobacco or smoking is closely linked to a variety of diseases including the dreaded cancers. A lot of cancer deaths can also be attributed to the use of tobacco.
The tobacco smoke is a mixture of many chemical compounds, including cancer producing ones known as carcinogens. According to the International Agency for Research On Cancer, tobacco smoke has 69 known carcinogens. These carcinogens go to the different organs of the body through the bloodstream.
The severity of tobacco effects on the different organ cancers are related to the amount of tobacco consumed and the length of time of consumption. If you have been a smoker for a long time then your risk of developing cancer increases. Also, the heavier your tobacco consumption is the higher your risk of developing cancer is.
Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer that results from tobacco smoking. This disease covers malignancies in the respiratory tracts and the cell lining the airways of the lung. This type of cancer is also one of the most dangerous as the likelihood of dying is quite high.
The toxic substance coming from the tobacco smoke causes damage to the cells found in the lungs or the airways. These damaged cells will continue to replicate until they form a tumour then eventually progress into lung cancer.
The toxins from the tobacco smokes pass through the liver for processing. This increases the risk of getting liver cancer. If a person has chronic hepatitis B and C infection, this may be aggravated by smoking and eventually lead to liver cancer.
Kidney and bladder cancers
Smoking can also cause cancer of the kidney, renal pelvis, ureter and the bladder as the toxins from the tobacco smoke are passed from the body through the urine.
Cancer of the blood
Another type of cancer that can be caused by smoking is leukaemia or cancer of the blood. Some substances in a tobacco smoke, like benzene, are known causes of human leukaemia.
Oesophagus is the tube that connects the mouth and throat to the stomach. Tobacco ingestion, either through smoking or sucking or chewing, also causes cancer of the oesophagus.
The list of cancers that can be attributed to tobacco is not limited the above. Tobacco is also a cause of cancers of the mouth, nose, throat or pharynx, voice box or larynx, stomach, pancreas and bowel.
Quitting from smoking, at any age, decreases the risk of developing these cancers. However, it is always better to quit at younger age as the earlier you quit, the lower is your chance of developing associated cancer.