'Mob Wives' Star Big Ang's Tragic Death Is an Important Warning to Us All

Reality star Angela "Big Ang" Raiola sadly passed away this week, just two days after her final interview aired. The Mob Wives star had sat down with Dr. Oz just a couple of weeks earlier to talk about her terminal diagnosis and how she knew it could have been prevented by changing just one thing about her lifestyle.

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The 55-year-old admitted that she knew that her smoking habit was what caused her stage four cancer diagnosis, and what would ultimately kill her. On The Dr. Oz Show, taped January 29, Raiola revealed that she had stopped chemotherapy and would be beginning a new experimental immunotherapy.

When speaking with People magazine after her death, Dr. Oz admitted that the experimental treatment was something of "a Hail Mary pass." He explained that chemo kills off cells, but the cancer can grow faster than healthy cells. He said that the new treatment would attempt to "turn on" her immune system so that it could catch the cancer and eradicate it.

More from The Stir: Cancer Patients Who Won't Quit Smoking Need a Reality Check

Oz said, "Your immune system should always catch a cancer. Everybody reading the article has cancer, but their immune system is strong enough to catch that cancer and kill it. But when it's weakened from poor nutrition and cigarettes, it doesn't catch it, and the cells prosper."

Unfortunately, Raiola never even got the opportunity to try the new treatment, since doctors found a lung problem the morning of her first appointment.

She was diagnosed with throat cancer less than a year ago in March and immediately ditched her lifelong smoking habit. After months of medical procedures, including multiple surgeries, Big Ang was declared healthy in October. Then, in December, her docs found stage four cancer in her other lung and in her brain.

More from The Stir: 20 Celebrity Smokers Who Will Probably Surprise You (PHOTOS)

Her aggressive chemo treatments didn't seem to be working, so she tried to opt for the experimental procedure. Dr. Oz said that she wanted to come on his show to be a PSA of sorts against smoking. He said, "She came on to get people to appreciate that this dumb cigarette addiction she picked up as a young woman, she wanted people to see the anguish in her face, as she was clear about the fact that cigarettes killed her."

I get it. Quitting smoking is incredibly difficult. I think Big Ang did a brave thing, admitting that she wished she had given up the habit before it took her life far too soon. If you're a smoker, you owe it to yourself to get help and try to quit. Smokers who have help and support are more than twice as likely to kick the habit. Isn't that worth trying?

 

Image via Steven White/Splash News

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