Tobacco Cessation Treatment Needed in Routine Cancer Care 

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Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reported that a new behavioral tapering intervention combined with cessation counseling and pharmacotherapy did not affect short- and long-term abstinence rates compared to cessation counseling and pharmacotherapy alone among smokers newly diagnosed with cancer.1 The group’s poster tied for best overall at the 10th Annual Conference of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS).

Jamie S. Ostroff, PhD, lead author of the study, said that despite the numerous risks, a recent population-based study2 showed that 16% of adult cancer survivors continue to smoke; a higher proportion is observed among survivors of tobacco-related cancers.Persistent smoking has been linked to treatment complications, cancer recurrence, second primary malignancies, poorer quality of life, and death.

The current study examined whether patients prescribed a scheduled reduced smoking regimen prior to hospitalization for surgical treatment in addition to counseling and nicotine replacement therapy would be more likely to quit smoking than those who received only counseling and nicotine replacement therapy.

The study showed that patients who were older and diagnosed with lung cancer were more likely to quit smoking. Overall, however, there was no difference between the two groups. Of the participants, 32% in both groups abstained from smoking after 6 months. Dr. Ostroff said this research “underscores the importance of integrating evidence-based tobacco cessation treatment into routine cancer care.” ■


1. Ostroff J, Burkhalter J, Cinciripini P, et al: Randomized trial of a presurgical, scheduled reduced smoking intervention for patients newly diagnosed with cancer. 2013 American Psychosocial Oncology Society Annual Conference. Abstract P1-50. Presented February 15, 2013.

2. Underwood JM, Tai E, White A, et al: Persistent smoking and other tobacco use after a tobacco-related cancer diagnosis. J Cancer Surviv 6:333-344, 2012.




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