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Smoking Cessation After a Cancer Diagnosis

Smoking Cessation After a Cancer Diagnosis

Published research has established that smoking is a significant risk factor for many cancers and can impede treatment, but some survivors continue to smoke even after they are diagnosed. According to current estimates, there are about 13.7 million cancer survivors in the United States, but the prevalence of smoking in these individuals varies between 15% and 33% depending on the type of cancer, age, and the time since diagnosis. Some studies have suggested that a cancer diagnosis can be a teachable moment for people who smoke. “We can take advantage of visits with cancer patients by talking to them about smoking and providing cessation assistance,” says J. Lee Westmaas, PhD. “After a diagnosis, patients may be more motivated to quit and receptive to interventions.” The concept of using a cancer diagnosis as a teachable moment for smoking cessation would be better accepted if it could be shown that smokers recently diagnosed with the disease are more likely to quit smoking. Most investigations looking at the link between a cancer diagnosis and smoking cessation have included all people diagnosed with the disease, regardless of its site or stage at diagnosis. However, this data may be lacking because some cancers make it more difficult to smoke. In addition, previous research has not explored whether or not patients are more motivated to quit smoking by a desire to reduce their cancer-related risks. Examining the Data For a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Westmaas and colleagues examined data from the Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort to see if a recent cancer diagnosis was associated with a higher rate of...
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