At that time Mishal was young. Smoking was just fun for her. Her mom always advised her to “quit smoking”. She even said she would kill her if she caught her. She was trying to help her because of unforeseen horrible circumstances.
With the passage of time, decades of smoking toll on her health. Mishal felt a sudden pain and had to rush to the hospital. While doctors treated one problem, Mishal learned she also had lung cancer. She decided to quit smoking when she had problems with her legs and she went to specialists.
A plaque was found in both legs. The triple bypass was the solution. She also had a tumour. Mishal began a series of treatments to fight her cancer.
The doctors decided to do chemo first to shrink it because it was pretty big and so they wouldn't have to cut so deep. So she had chemo. She thinks like nine treatments of the chemo and then had surgery. After that, a lot of trouble with the breathing tubes started.
Recently she had two tumours in the brain and she just had surgery on that. Then she had radiation that she had to 14 treatments of radiation that just finished. That's where she is right now. She thought Cancer is not going to happen to her.
The role of nicotine in cancer
There are three aspects to this problem and its impact on therapy.
First is that nicotine although not known as being a professional carcinogen still can damage the DNA of the cells that would in turn lead to mutation and cancer.
Besides, that nicotine can promote growth in already existing tumours because it works as a universal promoter. By competing with the non-neuronal side, a transmitter called acetylcholine. So competing with hormones like substance nicotine can aggravate any pre-existing condition so that's as far as the ability of nicotine to cause cancer.
It also can protect cancer from death because again working through the same system. It activates a receptor that is expressed in mitochondria and that protects the life of cancer cells and as a result of which nicotine facilitates the survival of cancer cells that are being treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
So people basically who consume nicotine-containing products and yet at the same time receive chemotherapy, they may decrease the efficacy of their treatment.
Last but not the least aspect of this problem is to use the receptors and the signalling pathways which are activated by nicotine to block that signalling and thus develop a novel approach to treating various types of cancers.
By knowing all these facts and Mishal's story, it’s important to conclude. A lot of people think cancer is not going to happen to them but look at Mishal. She also used to say the same thing. Her mom used to get after her and tell her. But you know it can happen. It happened to her and it’s not pretty.
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