Background: Cancer patients who use tobacco demonstrate characteristics of strong nicotine dependence and are at increased risk for future tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. Continued smoking may contribute to poorer cancer treatment outcome and additional illness. In contrast, stopping smoking may improve quality of life and facilitate cancer treatment. Unfortunately, limited attention has been given to addressing tobacco use and treating nicotine dependence in cancer patients.
Methods: The authors reviewed the current literature on smoking cessation and nicotine dependence treatment in patients with cancer.
Results: Nicotine dependence treatment in patients with cancer facilitates smoking cessation. Evidence that cancer patients are motivated and able to stop smoking support tobacco use treatment intervention. Research is needed to evaluate effective intervention to aid tobacco abstinence and evaluate related health benefits for this patient population.
Conclusions: Cancer patients are able to stop smoking and benefit from intervention. Treatment of nicotine dependence in cancer patients merits attention from researchers and healthcare providers. The health risks of continued smoking and clear benefits of tobacco abstinence provide an ethical imperative for treating nicotine dependence in cancer patients. Research is needed to evaluate effective intervention with the overall goal of promoting tobacco abstinence to benefit oncology treatment and patient health.
Copyright 2003 American Cancer Society.DOI 10.1002/cncr.11538