“What it tells us is there’s a lot of motivation,” Ward said. “If we provide the services a lot of them will avail themselves of that.”

Ward told Cancer Therapy Advisor that he was inspired to do the study as a result of a personal experience. His father was diagnosed with lung cancer 6 years ago. He had tried to quit smoking and failed.


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After he was diagnosed, Ward said, he wanted to quit, but “getting the attention of his physicians, his personal physician and his oncologist, to give him any help quitting was difficult. That just wasn’t on the radar. There were too many other important things to do.”

The study’s findings, he said, confirm that “the bottom line is that there are lung cancer patients that are interested in quitting. We have effective tools to help them and we need to help oncologists do a better job at that. That is the take-home of what we’re trying to do.”

Another study presented at the conference examined the impact of providing an “opt-out” inpatient smoking cessation program implemented at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, in 2014.5

“In other words,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. K. Michael Cummings, “once you’re identified as a smoker, you’re automatically enrolled in our tobacco cessation service.”

In all, 30,846 patients age 18 and older were screened for tobacco use on admission to the center. That included about 13% diagnosed with cancer. Just under one-in-five of the admissions (18%) were identified as current smokers. Of the smokers, 11% opted out of the cessation service by refusing counseling.

A total of 4,197 were enrolled in the center’s automated telephone follow-up program to assess smoking status after dismissal. Of the ones who answered, 44% of those who had been seen by a bedside counselor at the center reported they were not smoking a month after discharge. Another 24% who were enrolled in the automated phone system but had not seen the counselor also reported they were not smoking after 1 month.

The study noted, the “unplanned 30-day hospital readmission rates” for the patients who had seen a counselor were significantly lower (9.1%) than for those who had not (15.7%).

Thus, the authors concluded: “An opt-out inpatient tobacco cessation service is feasible, can reduce relapse back to using tobacco after hospital discharge, and may reduce unplanned hospital readmissions.

RELATED: General U.S. Population Less Likely to Benefit from Lung Cancer Early Detection Screening

That could be particularly significant for patients with cancer, considering that a growing body of studies shows “about a 40% improvement in survival of the patients who stop smoking,” Cummings said. “So that should be the standard of care.”

At the very least, he continued, the potential cost-benefit is too large to ignore.

“This is not $10,000-a-month for treatment, which is the cost of what a lot of our drugs are for cancer patients,” he said. “This is a very cost-effective intervention and it could make a big difference.”

References

  1. Chiasson S,  Lelièvre M,  Fortin B,  Dionne J. Smoking cessation before the initiation of chemotherapy in metastatic NSCLC: impact on overall survival. Abstract presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer; September 6-9, 2015. Denver, CO. http://library.iaslc.org/virtual-library-search?product_id=1&author=&category=Prevention+and+Tobacco+Control . Accessed September 30, 2015.
  2. Dobson Amato KA, Hyland A, Reed R, et al. Tobacco cessation may improve lung cancer patient survival. Journal of Thorac Oncol. 2015; 10(7):1014-1019.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of smoking—50 years of progress: a report of the Surgeon General, 2014. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/50-years-of-progress/. Accessed September 29, 2015.
  4. Ward KD, Kedia S, Faris N, et al. Interest in smoking cessation treatment among patients in a community-based multidisciplinary thoracic oncology program. Abstract presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer; September 6-9, 2015. Denver, CO. http://library.iaslc.org/virtual-library-search?product_id=1&author=&category=Prevention+and+Tobacco+Control . Accessed September 30, 2015.
  5. Cummings KM,  El Nahhas G,  Talbot V, et al. Impact of an inpatient tobacco cessation service. Abstract presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer; September 6-9, 2015. Denver, CO. http://library.iaslc.org/virtual-library-search?product_id=1&author=&category=Prevention+and+Tobacco+Control . Accessed September 30, 2015.