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Study finds continued smoking after cancer diagnosis among patients, family caregivers

March 03, 2016

Weaver explained that many family members might see the challenges their loved one is experiencing because of cancer and think they really need to quit smoking. However, the disease creates a very stressful period of time for everyone involved and the added stress may make it a difficult time to quit.

"What's important about this study is that a cancer diagnosis may be a teachable moment about smoking cessation for both patients and their family members," Weaver said. "Physicians need to be aware that a substantial number of their patients do continue to smoke after receiving a cancer diagnosis, but they should be offered every encouragement and resource to quit."

Weaver said other research links continued smoking after a cancer diagnosis to the development of new, secondary cancers, treatment complications and decreased effectiveness, reduced overall survival, and poorer quality of life. Oncology physicians should assess all of their patients for current tobacco use and provide tobacco cessation resources for those who are smokers and their family members who smoke.

"We want to make sure that cancer patients understand that it is never too late to experience the health benefits of quitting smoking," she said.

Source: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center