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Vaping and Throat Cancer?

Discussion in 'Health, Safety and Vaping' started by Bergster, Dec 3, 2013.

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  1. Bergster

    Bergster Full Member Verified Member

    Mar 19, 2013
    I'm still in complete shock from my phone call yesterday regarding my biopsy results. I have been diagnosed with Stage 1 Laryngeal Cancer (aka Squamos Cell Carcinoma/aka throat cancer). It's been pretty hard to cope with this news, being that I'm only 31 years old and smoked for about 13 years. I'm in the <1% category of throat cancer patients for my age. I quite smoking and went full time vaping in February 2013, so I've been off the stinkies for 9 months now. I know people that have smoked for decades and are still chugging along, healthy as an ox. GRRRR!!!!

    Doctors say the good news is my chances of a successful treatment is 97% due to my age and catching it so early.

    I think the most common first question my friends and family have been asking the last 24 hours is: "was it caused by smoking, or that vaping thing?" I just get so frustrated and throw my hands in the air and tell them how vaping is completely harmless, or at least when compared to smoking. I try to educate them about the ingredients, where they come from, and how they are already present and ingested in our everyday lives in the forms of toothpaste, make up, inhalers, etc.

    But then I start second guessing myself due to the lack of legitimate studies regarding what is truly in e-liquid and what the real side effects of vaping are. My doctors tell me my diagnosis is 100% due to smoking, but is it possible that vaping may have lended a hand in any way for those F'ing cells to form on my vocal chord? The ENT surgeon and my radiologist don't have an answer, so I'm coming here to see what the ECF opinions are.

    Maybe there is someone out there walking (or have walked) in my shoes who are just as confused, scared, and unsure of what to do regarding their vaping hobby. I couldn't find a thread on ECF relating to this, so hopefully someone other than me will find this helpful.

    1. Will vaping during radiotherapy stall or possibly hinder my results? I can't recall the source, but I recall reading a research article stipulating that nicotine use can actually accelerate the growth and spreading of cancerous cells.
    2. I currently vape 6mg nicotine. Would it be in my best interest to drop down to zero mg to be absolutely safe?
    3. Are there certain devices I should stay away from? IE - sub ohm mesh coils, cotton wicks, silica wicks, cartomizer tanks, etc. I can say that the mesh coils are somewhat irritating because they produce very warm vapor.
    4. Or should I just kick vaping completely and bow out of the hobby and pick up knitting or something to keep my hands busy while I anxiously await my remission? :)

    Please don't troll and say "OMG dude, your so stupid to even consider vaping with throat cancer." Go get diagnosed with cancer and see if you're not as worried sick and confused as I am about what to do.

    I look forward to reading your stories and opinions.
  2. turbocad6

    turbocad6 Registered Supplier - Offline ECF Veteran

    Jan 17, 2011
    brooklyn ny
    bro, don't have much useful input but my prayers are with you man, stay strong...
  3. Talyon

    Talyon Vape 4 Life Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Feb 21, 2013
    My brother on law passed away a short time ago due to throat cancer, he never vaped only smoked.

    He did all his radiation, and chemotherapy treatments and even had his throat removed and had a hole in his chest, I remember he tried eating some toast and it got lodged, so he took a hair dryer and out it in his mouth to force the toast down, it was gross yet funny if u knew him. He used to joke about sticking his head under water the longest.

    I'll miss him always, he was so kind and generous.

    He lived for 10 months after his diagnosis and 2 after the throat surgery.

    GL OP, I'm sure smoking was your cause, as cancer usually takes time to rear its ugly head, I'll suggest u google this.

    I hope u get your remission.
  4. SupplyDaddy

    SupplyDaddy Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Oct 21, 2012
    San Antonio, Texas
    With the exception of the nicotine (and then, only if you Don't eat certain plants..) there is nothing in the eliquids that you are not generally exposed to every day!
    I don't see that vaping would have caused the issue. Even with your smoking past, that doesn't automatically mean that the tobacco use gave you cancer either, regardless what your ENT or other doctors said. It may have raised your chances, but they cannot prove it was tobacco use.

    Relax, vape as you see needed. Nicotine has been shown to accelerate cancer growth, but you're already at a low level. If you feel the need, lower it some more.

    I cannot say I've had a throat cancer, but I have had a cancer recently, all cleared up now. If one of my doctors would have said it was from my smoking past, I would have asked them to demonstrate the exact method I would have had to smoke the darned things to get it there........
  5. mightymen

    mightymen Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 22, 2012
    Over there

    1. As a recovering colon cancer patient who went through radiotherapy and chemo twice in 2010.

      I would not take anything that could possible reduce the effects of any treatments.

      During my treatment and afterwards I gave up cigs and it was easy to do with so many thoughts running though my mind.

      From the start of diagnose and treatment I was confused, scared.

      Hang in there your get through it.

      Have you tried to vape without nicotine it's not that bad. Increase the flavor might help.
  6. Fergie

    Fergie Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 2, 2013
    Toronto, Canada,
    It's scary Bergster, hard to put into words and my heart goes out to you. I had prostate cancer back in 2002 and with the latest technology was able to beat it. (fingers crossed) They used a procedure called brachytherapy in my case, which involved mapping out the prostate with scans, and inserting in my case 82 tiny radioactive seeds directly into the cancerous area. I went in early in the morning and out by noon time, no pain whatsoever. Nurse handed me an ice pack and I asked her what's that for. lol.

    So good luck friend hopefully they will get it all and you can go on. Personally I would think the smoking caused your cancer and not the vaping.

    Hang in there ;)
  7. StormFinch

    StormFinch Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 22, 2010
    Bergster I am so sorry about your diagnosis, but have faith that you can beat this. I've personally never been in your shoes, though I have lost several family members to other forms of cancer, mainly lung, though my father passed from prostate cancer. All were found much later than yours.

    As far as the nicotine goes, I'd say it's a definite yes that you need to quit it now. There is at least one preliminary study stating that although nicotine is not carcinogenic, it does promote pre-existing tumor growth. Since you're at 6 mg now the step down should be relatively easy I believe.

    In regard to the equipment, all I can say is we just don't know enough to say if one particular form is better than another. If you can step your nicotine down to zero and then give up vaping altogether, then I'd say go for it. However, keeping stress to a minimum also plays a part in the healing process, and if it's going to stress you out to try and quit altogether, then I would think that continuing to vape at 0 mg with no flavoring or at least the minimum amount of flavoring you can get away with might be a better option.

    Sending healing prayers your way.
  8. deepsouth

    deepsouth Full Member

    Nov 11, 2013
    I can't help you with your question but my family is no stranger to cancer. My grandpa died of lung cancer he smoked. My other grandpa had mouth cancer he chewed tobacco they cut his out and he has no visual scars and still chews tobacco. My grandma who has never smoked had throat cancer and had it removed she lives with a trake now but cancer is gone. I had a great aunt who died of Lung cancer and she never smoked and as far as I know was never exposed to second hand smoke. There are more and most of them didn't smoke or use tobacco.

    I don't know if you believe in prayer but I'll be praying for you. And the only other thing I can help you with is that if your going to be going through chemo get some Limu I know people who are drinking limu and it makes their chemo much easier on them.

    You will beat it just stay strong.
  9. Erncig

    Erncig Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 8, 2013
    Sorry to hear your news, I wish you the best of luck.

    I just wanted to say, you certainly have scared me. I still smoke and vape but havent smoked for 3 days) being only 3 years younger than you, I never knew getting cancer from smoking at this age was possible.

    Could you tell us how you found out you had throat cancer? How much you smoked per day? and What made you get checked out?

    Good luck mate.......very happy for you that they caught it early:)
  10. Sane Asylum

    Sane Asylum Super Member ECF Veteran

    Sep 20, 2013
    Maryland, USA
    So sorry to hear this but the good news is that it is highly treatable.

    Just an FYI: Were you tested for HPV? If not, I would definitely ask your doctor about it.

    HPV and Head & Neck Cancer
  11. Bergster

    Bergster Full Member Verified Member

    Mar 19, 2013
    Thank you all for the kind words, best wishes, and prayers. It has been uplifting to hear your personal experiences and friends/family success stories. I do plan to continue vaping but at 0mg nicotine, and only casually. I will need that placebo to calm my nerves throughout my treatment process.

    Because I caught it so early, I do not need surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation Therapy is my current treatment plan, 5 days a week for 6 weeks. I be able to continue to work and go about my daily routines. Doc's are saying I have a 97% chance of success. I like those odds.

    The first couple of days my mind was draped in a black curtain of doom and gloom. But now I'm feeling very positive and ready to kick ..., get past this and grow old. Just a bump in the road. As of now, I'm just anxiously waiting for my radiology referral to be processed and approved from insurance to get my initial appointment to go over everything and then get started.

    I'll keep you guys updated through my healing process.
  12. Bergster

    Bergster Full Member Verified Member

    Mar 19, 2013
    I smoked a total of 13 years, I was always a pretty casual smoker. Then when I got to college 6 years ago it increased to about half a pack a day. As I said, I quit 100% 9 months ago and I haven't smoked a cigg since Feb 3rd. I was utterly shocked with this diagnosis.

    It all started with a hoarse voice back in mid-September. I had it for 4 weeks and just ignored it, assuming it was due to allergies because ragweed gets really bad at the start of Fall. Then at week 6 (beginning of Oct) it wasn't getting any better so I made an appointment with family doctor and he couldn't find anything through a general checkup and chest xrays. So he referred me to an ENT doctor.

    I had to wait 5 more weeks just to get into the ENT office (end of November). At that visit, he ran a scope up through my nose, down into my throat and found a large abnormal growth on my right vocal chord. Three days later I was in surgery (day after Thanksgiving) and the following Monday, 12/2, I got the call saying it was Stage 1 Laryngeal Cancer.

    I didn't think I could get throat cancer at age 31 either. Even though you're young, you are not invincible.

    My advice to you Ern: quit smoking now!! It's very difficult to do, and could be one of the hardest challenges you may face in life, but vaping should be your only method of nicotine use.
  13. Zbeast08

    Zbeast08 Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 18, 2013
    Wilson, NC, USA
    My prayers are with you. My younger brother was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer 3 years ago this month, he was 40 years old and will be 43 Friday, Dec. 6th. He did test positive for HPV as someone ask earlier. My brother also had Hodgkins at age 20 and had 8 weeks of radiation and several doctors were concerned that due to the amount of radiation he had already encountered that his body would not react. He had tumors on his tonsil, the base of his tongue and in the soft palette. We were all devastated as he had fought this disease already once in his life and his chances were not so good. As a matter of fact, we live in NC and there are some top facilities here that all gave different percentages of survival and treatment plans. Joe, my brother, chose Duke Hospital and with 8 weeks of heavy, the heaviest radiation and 6 weeks of chemo and neck surgery to remove all the lymph nodes, he is in remission and doing great!! He even traveled to Houston Texas to a leading cancer treatment facility and they concurred with Duke that chemo and radiation was the plan. Now get this, during his 3rd week of chemo, he had a heartache and the oncologists stated that the treatments must keep going, the strong chemo took a toll on his heart, this is all at 40 years old with a daughter 5 years old and an infant son less than a year old! I will say that the radiation was tough on him after the 3rd week and he could not eat regular foods but drank Ensures as best he could, his throat was "burnt". He did not smoke but did do smokeless tobacco and drank alcohol..not extensively but social drinker...started with a sore throat feeling and could see a small lump at the back of his tongue.

    The reason for this long story has a great ending, joe is in remission and doing great!! He is expecting his third child in 3 months which the doctors said he could not do, glad its him and not me!! I was with him during alot of his treatments and he is my hero!!
    He is also a Dukie fan for life!!
    I am so glad that you caught this early and that you are healthy and have not had cancer before...Stay strong and stay positive!! You wil be a hero too!!
  14. Bergster

    Bergster Full Member Verified Member

    Mar 19, 2013
    Zbeast, thank you for that amazing and inspirational story! Your brother is a true fighter and i'm so happy to hear he is in remission!

    I've been told that by week 3 of radiation it's going to get pretty painful and I will have no desire to eat. The skin on my neck is also going to turn a leathery red and start peeling. Luckily, this is happening during the winter so I'll just wear a scarf!
  15. Zbeast08

    Zbeast08 Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 18, 2013
    Wilson, NC, USA
    It sounds like you somewhat know what to expect and I'd you need anyone to talk to, please let me brother loves to talk!!
  16. jorge330823

    jorge330823 Full Member

    Nov 4, 2013
    This is the last thing we want or expect from someone trying to reduce tobacco harm. Our clubs thoughts and prayers are with you

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I527 using Tapatalk
  17. sauron

    sauron Full Member

    Nov 3, 2013
    Colombo, SirLanka
    Hey man ... I was shocked reading this. I am just 28 and I did 14+ years of smoking. You are lucky that you found it early. Hope all the best and good luck for your treatment. I wish that I could do something. Be strong and fight for your life. I know you will. 97% means 100%. Nothing to worry. Just dont try to dig your past looking for answers. Plan your future instead. Good Luck. Hope you will stay strong.
  18. Bergster

    Bergster Full Member Verified Member

    Mar 19, 2013
    It has come to my attention that I haven't provided a progress report along my road to recovery. Sorry! Seems the EDIT button has disappeared so I can't post my progress on the front page.

    I have been going to radiation treatments M-F since Dec 12th. Tomorrow is the halfway point (14 of 28) and next Monday my doc is running a laryngeal scope to see how the tumor is responding. Luckily I'm having minimal side effects so far after 13 treatments and have been able to maintain my normal diet, minus all my favorite spicy foods. Skin on my neck is starting to turn slightly pink and irritated and I'm sure in another week it will be bright red and itchy.

    Also, my voice hoarseness got worse at first because the radiation inflamed the tumor, but now the inflammation is receding and the hoarseness is improving everyday.

    The worst part so far has been my quality of sleep. Sleeping has become a real pain in the ...! At night I wake up every 1-2 hours with an itchy/dry throat and have to get up to drink water and take liquid Tylenol to sooth my throat. So far I have avoided medications like the plague. I would rather suffer some at night than become dependent on opiate cocktails for the next several weeks.

    Physically and emotionally I am doing really well and staying very positive. Haven't missed much work time and it's healthy to stick to a routine and stay focused.
    After Doc scopes me next Monday, I will have a better update :2cool:
  19. Racehorse

    Racehorse ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 12, 2012
    USA midwest
    That;s GREAT NEWS, Bergster! You sound like you are in good hands, for sure.

    Thanks for providing the upate! You are so brave.

    And also a good reminder for those here, that ANY former smoker, who experiences "odd" symptoms whether still smoking or vaping, needs to be accessed pronto by trained medical staff. Thank goodness you went that route.

    Prayers and thoughts of healing always on their way to you, my fellow Arkansan. I'm sure everyone will be delighted to hear about your progress.
  20. cags

    cags Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 27, 2011
    east TN
    I'm so glad you are doing well.

    it seems like these days when we get sick people are always asking what we did to cause it. sigh. you know, maybe it is the antibiotics in our meats and dairy. or the poisons in our fruits and veggies. or the processed foods. or the pollution. stress, etc, etc

    praying your recovery continues at a rapid rate!
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