The Particulars: Smoking has been shown to cause adverse outcomes and increase mortality in cancer patients, regardless of the cancer type, according to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report. However, data are limited on how to improve access to tobacco cessation services for this patient population.

Data Breakdown: A collection of surveys of oncologists in 2012 and a follow-up survey in 2013 found that 90% of respondents to all surveys reported regularly asking patients about tobacco use. Although 87% to 92% felt that tobacco use affects cancer outcomes, only 35% to 44% reported regularly discussing medications or assisting with tobacco cessation. Lack of training in cessation interventions was the predominantly reported barrier to providing cessation support. Nearly all (99%) of respondents preferred that another provider in their clinic obtain training and deliver cessation support. This finding correlated with many physicians reporting a lack of time and resources as other dominant barriers.

Take Home Pearls: The majority of oncologists appear to believe that addressing tobacco use is an important part of cancer care and ask patients about tobacco use. However, few oncologists appear to provide cessation support due to a multitude of reasons.