Tobacco cessation offers a proven survival benefit for lung cancer patients who quit smoking shortly before or after diagnosis, no matter how severe the disease is. The results from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute assessment revealing this new insight were recently published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology and is entitled “Tobacco Cessation Improves Lung Cancer Patient Survival.”
Roswell Park has a leading Tobacco Assessment and Cessation Service (TACS) that offers a standardized tobacco use assessment for patients with lung cancer treated in the Thoracic Center and refers patients that smoke to a tobacco cessation counseling program. 250 patients enrolled the study. Those who had stopped smoking (50 patients), or those who quit after contacting TACS (71 patients) had lower mortality rates in comparison to those who continued smoking. Patients who stopped smoking had a median survival of 28 months in comparison to the 18 months for patients that still used tobacco. The survival advantages took into account disease stage, demographics and further health characteristics.
“To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to examine the impact of tobacco cessation on survival among lung cancer patients who participated in a mandatory assessment and automatic referral to a tobacco cessation service,” noted Mary Reid, the senior author of the study who is also the Director of Cancer Screening and Survivorship at Roswell Park.
According to the researchers, there might be a survival advantage even for those who did not quit tobacco use completely, but still attempt to quit after receiving a cancer diagnosis. The mortality rates were similar for patients that relapsed and for current users.
Researchers say that the tobacco use among patients with lung cancer is rarely documented, but TACS brings together standardized tobacco use information for both diagnosis and follow-up. “Establishing services to accurately screen for tobacco use and easily accessible cessation programs are essential in the cancer care setting to further improve the survival time and quality of life of patients,” added Dr. Reid.
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