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Smokers puff away despite cancer Diagnosis

New research show that almost half the smokers continue to smoke despite being diagnosed of cancer, knowing well that continued smoking can have adverse// effect on the treatment outcomes.

The report, published in the January 1, 2006 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, says smoking cessation is an underutilized tool in cancer management and that healthcare providers often fail to advise smokers to quit.

Smoking has been linked to many primary diseases, such as cancer and respiratory diseases. In patients diagnosed with cancer, smoking is also associated with poor treatment outcomes.

Ellen R. Gritz, Ph.D., of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and others found that there was substantial evidence to suggest that patients who quit smoking around the time of diagnosis have improved disease outcomes compared to those who continue to smoke. The treatments effectiveness may be reduced in continuing smokers and survival rates are lower.

The common finding was that the healthcare provider has a significant impact on smoking cessation rates. Interventions may have greater impact if begun soon after diagnosis.

Among the authors' recommendations, future studies should be designed to 'determine individual barriers to smoking cessation among cancer patients" and treatment trials should 'include patients with non-smoking-related cancers.' The authors conclude: 'cancer patients who are able to stop smoking and remain abstinent after diagnosis and treatment are likely to reap substantial physical and psychological benefits, including improved QOL and prolonged survival.'

Article: 'Successes and Failures of the Teachable Moment: Smoking Cessation in Cancer Patients,' Ellen R. Gritz, Michelle Cororve Fingeret, Damon J. Vidrine, Amy B. Lazev, Netri V. Mehta, Gregory P. Reece, CANCER; Published Online: November 28, 2005 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.21598); Print Issue Date: Ja
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