Christine’s Story

During high school, Christine wanted to fit in, so she began smoking at age 16. She became addicted and continued smoking for 28 years.

In 2007, at age 44, Christine’s life would change forever. She quit smoking when a biopsy of a growth inside her cheek revealed oral cancer. After 35 radiation treatments and chemotherapy, she seemed to be cured. But the cancer returned in 2008; this time surgery was her only option. Her third bout with oral cancer in 2009 was even more serious. She learned it had spread to her jawbone, classifying it as stage IV. Doctors had to remove half of her jaw.

Christine’s Videos


Christine, age 55, lives in Pennsylvania and began smoking at age 16. At age 44, she was diagnosed with oral cancer, which eventually required doctors to remove half of her jaw. In these commercials and videos, Christine tells her story.

Christine’s Quit Smoking for Those Who Love You
After years of smoking cigarettes, Christine lost her teeth and half her jaw to oral cancer. In this video, Christine talks about the toll tobacco use can take, not only on the person who uses it, but also on their family and friends.
Christine’s Head of Household
When Christine lost her teeth and jaw to oral cancer after years of smoking cigarettes, her teenage children had to step up and take on adult responsibilities. In this video, Christine speaks about how her tobacco addiction robbed her kids of their childhood.
Christine: Oral Cancer Effects
Christine began smoking in high school to fit in. She became addicted and continued to smoke for many years. At 44, she was diagnosed with oral cancer. She lost her teeth due to radiation treatments, and had to have half of her jaw removed after the cancer came back twice. In this commercial, Christine talks about how oral cancer treatments and reconstructive surgery have affected her appearance.
Christine: Smoker
Christine started smoking in high school to fit in, but she never thought she smoked enough to be a “real smoker.” She was diagnosed with oral cancer at 44, and lost her teeth and half of her jaw due to cancer. Christine says if you think this could never happen to you, think again: “If you smoke, you’re a smoker.”
Christine: I Have to Quit
Christine started smoking in high school to fit in, and continued to smoke for many years. She was diagnosed with oral cancer in her early 40s. She lost her teeth and had half of her jaw removed. In this video, Christine talks about the moment when she finally realized the effects of smoking—year after year and cigarette after cigarette—and decided to quit.
Christine: Time They’ll Never Get Back
In this video, Christine talks about how her smoking affected her children, particularly her 17-year-old son. While she was going through treatment, she says her son had to become head of the household instead of getting to be a kid.
Christine: Happy Memories
In this video, Christine talks about the things she did before her oral cancer surgery to make sure her children would have a happy life if she died. She wrote letters filled with life lessons, spent quality time with them to create happy memories, and held a big party filled with supportive friends who could be there to help her children in the event of her death.

Persons with disabilities experiencing problems accessing these videos should contact CDC-INFO at CDC-INFO email form: https://www.cdc.gov/info, 800-232-4636 or the TTY number at (888) 232-6348 and ask for a 508 Accommodation PR#9342. If emailing please type “508 Accommodation PR#9342” without quotes in the subject line of the email. Please include the URL of the site in the Subject line of your email request that you would like to access.

View more Tips videos sorted by name, disease and specific groups

View the Tips YouTube video playlist

Christine’s Biography


During high school, smoking was what all the “cool” kids were doing (or so Christine thought), and she wanted to fit in, so she began smoking at age 16. She became addicted and continued smoking for 28 years.

Christine

In 2007, at age 44, her life would change forever. After spotting a growth inside her cheek, which she thought was a canker sore, Christine went to see her family doctor. Her doctor sent her to an oral surgeon, who did a biopsy of the sore, and it revealed oral cancer. That’s when she quit smoking for good.

After 35 radiation treatments and chemotherapy, Christine seemed to be cured. But the cancer returned in 2008; this time surgery was her only option. Her third bout with oral cancer in 2009 was even more serious. She learned it had spread to her jawbone, classifying it as stage IV.

The numerous radiation treatments had already cost Christine her teeth and had extensively damaged her mouth. During a 10-hour surgery, the doctors had to remove half of her jaw. “I’m missing a quarter of my face. People stare at me all the time,” she says. That doesn’t stop Christine from being in the public eye and serving as a role model for quitting smoking or never starting.

At age 55, Christine spends her time offering support for the Oral Cancer Foundation, where she’s a board administrator and volunteer patient advocate. She also gives speeches about oral cancer and the dangers of smoking. “Tobacco is not cool, not cool at all! It almost cost me my life,” says Christine. “Even though the surgery and cancer treatments were hard, I’m thankful for them. They gave me the chance to keep living and keep building happy memories with my children.”

Through the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign, Christine hopes kids will learn that there are so many other things to spend their time and money on.

More About Christine


Additional Resources


More Related Stories


More Real Stories about cancer: