Study shows smoking cessation more successful for cancer patients who quit before surgery

January 23, 2013, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Lung and head and neck cancer patients who smoked before surgery are more likely to relapse than those who had quit before surgery, Moffitt Cancer Center researchers say. They found that smoking-relapse prevention interventions are needed immediately after surgery to help prevent relapse.

The study was published in a recent issue of the journal Cancer.

"Cigarette smoking is responsible for 30 percent of all cancer-related mortalities," said study corresponding author Vani Nath Simmons, Ph.D., assistant member of the Health Outcomes and Behavior Program at Moffitt. "Head and neck and lung cancers are the most strongly linked to . Many patients with these cancers make an attempt to quit smoking at the time of diagnosis. However, little attention has been paid to looking at how successful patients are at quitting and what predicts who is likely to resume smoking. This is particularly a concern for cancer patients because continued smoking can be related to , complications, second primary tumors and poorer quality of life."

According to study co-author Thomas H. Brandon, Ph.D., director of the Tobacco Research and Intervention Program at Moffitt, "Only a few studies have examined factors associated with smoking relapse among patients with or lung cancer, and this information is needed to develop smoking-relapse prevention interventions for this population."

The goal of this study is to examine smoking trajectories among lung and head and neck cancer patients for 12 months after surgery and to test potential predictors of smoking relapse.

were recruited from clinics at Moffitt. Patients had either quit smoking shortly before or immediately after surgery. Smoking behavior was assessed at two, four, six and 12 months after surgery.

"We found that relapse rates varied significantly depending on a patient's pre-surgery smoking status," Simmons explained. "Sixty percent of patients who smoked during the week prior to surgery resumed smoking afterward, contrasted with a 13 percent relapse rate for those who had quit smoking prior to surgery."

Given the significantly lower among those who quit smoking prior to surgery, smoking cessation should be encouraged at diagnosis, the researchers said. Because most relapses occurred shortly after surgery, they recommend that smoking cessation assistance is important before and after surgery

The researchers also found that factors such as high fears regarding cancer recurrence, greater proneness to depression, and less belief in their ability to quit smoking predicted smoking relapse.

"Cancer patients are highly motivated to quit, so receiving a cancer diagnosis can be viewed as a 'teachable moment' for delivering smoking cessation and relapse ," Brandon said.

"Cancer patients need to know that it's never too late to quit," Simmons said. "Of course, it would be best if they quit smoking before getting cancer; but barring that, they should quit as soon as they get diagnosed. And with a little assistance, there is no reason that they can't succeed."

Explore further: Many people continue to smoke after being diagnosed with cancer

Related Stories

Many people continue to smoke after being diagnosed with cancer

January 23, 2012
A new analysis has found that a substantial number of lung and colorectal cancer patients continue to smoke after being diagnosed. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, ...

Old habits die hard: Helping cancer patients stop smoking

November 26, 2012
It's a sad but familiar scene near the grounds of many medical campuses: hospital-gowned patients, some toting rolling IV poles, huddled in clumps under bus shelters or warming areas, smoking cigarettes.

Smoking relapse prevention a healthy step for mothers, babies

September 26, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center, concerned that women who quit smoking during their pregnancies often resume smoking after they deliver their baby, tested self-help interventions designed to prevent ...

Models developed from the PLCO may help identify at-risk patients for adverse smoking outcomes

October 26, 2012
Risk prediction models developed from an ancillary study of the Prostate Lung Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO) may be useful in the public health sector for identifying individuals who are at risk for ...

Recommended for you

T-cells engineered to outsmart tumors induce clinical responses in relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma

January 16, 2018
WASHINGTON-(Jan. 16, 2018)-Tumors have come up with ingenious strategies that enable them to evade detection and destruction by the immune system. So, a research team that includes Children's National Health System clinician-researchers ...

Researchers identify new treatment target for melanoma

January 16, 2018
Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have identified a new therapeutic target for the treatment of melanoma. For decades, research has associated female sex and a history of previous ...

More evidence of link between severe gum disease and cancer risk

January 16, 2018
Data collected during a long-term health study provides additional evidence for a link between increased risk of cancer in individuals with advanced gum disease, according to a new collaborative study led by epidemiologists ...

Researchers develop a remote-controlled cancer immunotherapy system

January 15, 2018
A team of researchers has developed an ultrasound-based system that can non-invasively and remotely control genetic processes in live immune T cells so that they recognize and kill cancer cells.

Dietary fat, changes in fat metabolism may promote prostate cancer metastasis

January 15, 2018
Prostate tumors tend to be what scientists call "indolent" - so slow-growing and self-contained that many affected men die with prostate cancer, not of it. But for the percentage of men whose prostate tumors metastasize, ...

Pancreatic tumors may require a one-two-three punch

January 15, 2018
One of the many difficult things about pancreatic cancer is that tumors are resistant to most treatments because of their unique density and cell composition. However, in a new Wilmot Cancer Institute study, scientists discovered ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.