Surprising Number of Survivors of Certain Cancers Smoke

By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - January 10, 2020

It’s an alarming statistic: roughly 45% of cervical cancer survivors currently smoke cigarettes. That figure is 2.5 to 3 times higher than the combined number of survivors of all cancer types who are tobacco smokers. Moffitt Cancer Center researcher Dr. Jenny Vidrine says, “while overall smoking rates have declined substantially, the prevalence of smoking among gynecologic cancer survivors, particularly cervical cancer survivors, has remained extraordinarily high.”

Dr. Jennifer Vidrine, researcher

Smoking is widely known as a risk factor for developing cancer. But smoking during cancer therapy is also harmful. It can make treatment less effective, make recovery more difficult, and increase the risk of cancer reccurrence, second primary cancers, and other smoking-related issues such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. 

Vidrine is conducting the first randomized controlled trial to target and address smoking cessation among cervical cancer survivors. Her team is recruiting approximately 200 women with a diagnosis of cervical cancer or high-grade cervical dysplasia who currently smoke. In roughly half of this group, the team will evaluate the efficacy of a novel intervention called Motivation and Problem Solving (MAPS).  MAPS is a holistic, dynamic approach to facilitating behavior change that utilizes motivational enhancement and social cognitive theory. The MAPS approach is being compared to a standard treatment control condition, which includes repeated referrals to state quitlines, self-help materials and free nicotine replacement therapy when they are ready to quit. Participants in the MAPS condition receive all the standard treatment condition components in addition to the MAPS counseling intervention.

“The MAPS approach targets a person’s motives for change, as well as the cognitive, environmental and behavioral factors involved in making the change. Since this intervention addresses numerous barriers and concerns that are common among cervical cancer survivors, we believe this is the most appropriate approach for this population,” says Vidrine, assistant center director of Research Strategic Partnerships and senior member of the Health Outcomes and Behavior Program at Moffitt. 

The goal of the study is to determine which approach works best for this group of women and to compare the cost-effectiveness of the two approaches. Participant recruitment and enrollment is nearly complete, and study results will be available in mid-2021. The study is funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute.

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Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC Senior PR Account Coordinator 813-745-7408 More Articles

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