As I do every morning, I opened my email today to check my newswires. Most startling was another news story about the link between smoking and cancer. In fact, over the last two weeks, I have read an overabundance of such articles, which reinforce the evidence that smoking is one of the top lifestyle risk factors for the development of a number of cancer types.
One article in particular that really hit me was a news release from the American Lung Association (ALA), which had just announced the release of new interim guidelines on lung cancer screening for high-risk smokers. The guidelines, based on the results of the recent National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST), list the NLST criteria for screening by low-dose CT scans. The criteria are mainly based on smoking history (i.e., number of pack-years). According to the ALA, low-dose CT is a better method for detecting presymptomatic lung cancer in individuals at the highest risk for lung cancer and reportedly reduced mortality by 20% more than chest X-rays. ChemotherapyAdvisor just published the article today; to read it, click here.
Another news piece, along the same lines, linked diagnosis of bladder cancer with smoking cessation. In this study, urology patients who were active smokers at the time of bladder cancer diagnosis completed a survey that reported their smoking status. Upon receiving the diagnosis, nearly half of the participants reported that they would quit smoking, compared to only 10% in the general population. This article was also posted to ChemotherapyAdvisor today and can be accessed here.
After reading these two articles, I wondered how oncologists who treat cancers related to smoking encourage their patients to quit the habit. How do your patients, especially those who are active smokers, react to their cancer diagnosis? Do they make the decision to quit smoking upon diagnosis? If so, do they make that decision with, or without, your encouragement?
We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below! If you have a case study or a more extended response to this subject, click here to submit an item for us to publish.