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Almost half of cancer patients entering tobacco treatment program quit smoking

In the largest smoking cessation study of cancer patients to date, researchers at the University of Texas Cancer Center Anderson found that comprehensive tobacco treatment can help cancer patients to successfully quit and refrain from smoking.

Future study, published today in Jama Network is openanalyzed 3,245 smokers treated in the Dr Anderson's Tobacco Treatment Program between 2006 and 2015. At three, six, and nine-month follow-up, the smoking abstinence rates on average were 45%, 46%, and 44%, respectively. Based on the success of the program, the authors advocate for the full integration of comprehensive tobacco treatment into the oncology environment to provide the best possible outcomes for cancer treatment.

While the study was not designed as a randomized clinical trial and did not compare different types of smoking cessation programs, past studies have shown quintiles or other minimal interventions have abstinence rates of 20% or less. As with quitlines, the abstinence rates of the Tobacco Treatment Program were self-reported and were not regularly biochemically verified.

Patients deserve the absolute best we can give them to quit smoking. Based on our data, we recommend offering a comprehensive cessation of smoking in patients with cancer as the clinical standard of care. "

Dr. Paul Cinciripini, President of Behavioral Science, Director of the Tobacco Treatment Program and lead author of the study

Dr. Anderson's program provides personalized tobacco treatment to nearly 1,200 new patients each year. From 2013, patients were automatically referred to the program via an electronic questionnaire used in all institutional clinics.

Program staff contact every new patient who identifies as a smoker. Most patients who agree to participate in the comprehensive program also receive intensive counseling and proactive drug management.

"We tailor the nicotine replacement therapy recommendations to each individual and provide support through behavioral counseling sessions over eight to 12 weeks after their initial consultation," said Maher Karam-Hague, MA, professor of science for behavior and medical director of the Tobacco Treatment Program. "Through this combined approach, we have seen effective results in interruption and abstinence."

For Dr. Anderson, the average termination price ranges from $ 1,900 to $ 2,500. Participants receive free treatment services because the Tobacco Treatment Program is primarily funded through Texas Tobacco Settlement Funds awarded through the Master Tobacco Solution. The authors note that this funding agreement is progressive and may serve as a model for other countries.

"If we want to give patients the absolute best chance to treat their cancer, why not give them the best smoking cessation?" Cinciripini said. "It's the right thing to do and it's worth the investment."

Because smoking is a risk factor for many types of cancer and other illnesses, Dr. Anderson's program is open to staff as well. The study found no difference in abstinence rates between cancer patients and non-patients. For cancer patients, smoking also has a negative impact on survival and treatment.

"Many cancer patients wonder if quitting smoking after they already have cancer is worth it," said Diane Beneventi, PhD, assistant professor of behavioral sciences. "The truth is that cancellation at the time of diagnosis increases the chance of survival by 30% to 40%. Patients are also less likely to have recurrence or secondary cancer if they give up. They will have fewer side effects and their treatments will be more effective. in the long run, they will enjoy a better quality of life. Quitting is key for cancer patients. "


University of Texas Cancer Center Anderson

Newspaper reference:

Cinciripine, PM et al. (2019) Association for a Comprehensive Abstinence Smoking Cessation Program in Cancer Patients. Jama Network is open.

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