TAMPA, Fla. – The American Association for Cancer Research released today a new policy — co-authored by a Moffitt Cancer Center researcher — that calls for more assessment and treatment of tobacco use among cancer patients. Thomas Brandon, Ph.D., director of Moffitt’s Tobacco Research and Intervention Program, worked on the association’s Subcommittee on Tobacco and Cancer on the policy.
Information highlighted includes the negative impacts of continued smoking on those who have been diagnosed with cancer, advocates for more research on the effects tobacco use has on cancer treatments, and recommendations to health care providers for assisting in smoking cessation programs.
“Patients who smoke and who have been diagnosed with cancer can make a meaningful and immediate impact on their health and their treatment by stopping their tobacco use,” Brandon said. “Evidence is clear that tobacco use in cancer patients leads to decreases in efficacy and safety of their treatment, decreased patient survival, poorer quality of life, increased treatment toxicity, and increased risk for cancer recurrence and secondary primary tumors.”
Tobacco use, according to the AACR policy, has been linked to cancers in 18 organs, including lung, breast, prostate, bladder, cervical, colorectal and ovarian cancers. Smoking also is associated with increased risk of complications from cancer treatment, such as poor wound healing, infections and pulmonary complications. Tobacco use by cancer patients in treatment has also been shown to reduce the effectiveness of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
“The AACR subcommittee’s conclusions on tobacco use and cancer emphasized the critical need to integrate evidence-based tobacco cessation treatment into all oncology health care delivery,” Brandon said. “Unfortunately, there are few dedicated cessation treatment programs in, or associated with, oncology centers.”
Among the AACR’s recommendations are that (1) cancer patients from all clinical settings should be provided with tobacco cessation assistance; (2) tobacco use should be documented for all patients so that the confounding effects of tobacco on cancer treatment, disease progression, comorbid events, and survival can be evaluated; (3) universal standards for measuring tobacco use in clinical settings should be developed; (4) there should be greater recognition of the value of, and the need for, smoking cessation interventions so that they will be better supported by health care systems, payers, and research funders.
“The AACR’s policy on the negative effects of continued tobacco use by cancer patients is supported by a great body of evidence,” Brandon said. “But, AACR recommendations for further study on the deleterious effects of tobacco use and the benefits of tobacco cessation on cancer progression and treatment need to be emphasized. Progress begins with universal assessment and documentation of tobacco use as a standard of quality cancer care regardless of treatment setting. We point out in the statement’s recommendations that there is a need to further develop appropriate training and a clinical infrastructure, as well as incentives, for the delivery of tobacco cessation interventions.”
Moffitt offers a free smoking cessation program for patients, employees and the community. Services available include education and self-help materials, counseling, nicotine replacement therapy, telephone and online support services, classes, and complementary therapies.
About Moffitt Cancer Center
Located in Tampa, Moffitt is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Since 1999, Moffitt has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. With more than 4,200 employees, Moffitt has an economic impact on the state of nearly $2 billion. For more information, visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, twitter and YouTube.