The health risks of smoking are well understood. Smoking is linked to many primary diseases, such as cancer and respiratory diseases. In patients diagnosed with cancer, smoking is also associated with poor treatment outcomes, according to recent investigations. Despite these risks, up to half of smokers with cancer continue to smoke or relapse. Treatment for this addiction has largely been focused on healthy smokers and is critically dependent on smoker motivation. The diagnosis of cancer, according to research, is a strong motivator for many smokers and thus, provides a window of opportunity to begin treatment for smoking addiction.
Led by Ellen R. Gritz, Ph.D., of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, researchers reviewed the scientific literature to provide a comprehensive overview of smoking cessation and cancer, in particular, guidelines and evidence-based treatment for smoking addiction.
They found that the literature provides ample evidence that patients who quit smoking around the time of diagnosis have improved disease outcomes compared to those who continue to smoke. The efficacy of cancer treatments may be reduced in continuing smokers, side effects of treatment may be exacerbated, and survival rates are lower. Quality of life (QOL) is also better in nonsmokers. For example, multiple studies found that compared to nonsmokers, current smokers
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