Some smokers find it very hard to quit even after they’re diagnosed with cancer.

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The American Cancer Society‘s Great American SmokeOut was Thursday Nov 20th encouraging smokers to put down their cigarettes to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

Getting a cancer diagnosis does motivate some smokers to quit.

10548110_10152386929605667_9030543590403753136_oIn this Expert Voices blog, Dr. Lee Westmaas explores what we know about patients who continue to smoke after diagnosis, and how to help them quit. Read the full article click here > http://bit.ly/1xPNUtz Courtesy of: J. Lee Westmaas, PhD

Using data from the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study-II, we found that about 1 out of 3 smokers quit smoking when they were diagnosed with cancer. That compares with only 1 out of 5 smokers who quit but were not diagnosed with cancer during the same time periods studied.

Still have a very hard time quitting and here’s a few techniques that are working.

Even smokers whose cancer was not strongly linked to smoking (like breast 10393694_10154886088360301_3134559814384358797_ncancer) quit at higher rates than undiagnosed smokers. These results were not caused by the smokers being unable to smoke due to their illness; those people were excluded from the study.

We recently tested a program here at the American Cancer Society that we plan to adapt for cancer survivors. It’s an email program that uses information provided by the smoker (e.g., triggers, reasons for quitting, social supports, etc.) to send personalized, tailored information and advice before, during, and after a quit attempt. Preliminary results in the general population of smokers showed that this intervention increased the number of days smokers avoided smoking. With input from cancer survivors, we hope to develop a version that we can then test and make available for free to cancer survivors.

With the appropriate level of support and encouragement, along with inexpensive, easy-to-access resources, all smokers, including cancer survivors, should be able to take advantage of the latest treatments to help them quit.

 

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