Cancer patients 'do not give up smoking when they should'

23 January 2012

A large number of people continue to smoke despite being diagnosed with cancer, a new study has found.

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston revealed that many people do not give up their tobacco habit when receiving cancer treatment for lung and colorectal forms of the disease.

Leader of the study published in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, Dr Elyse Park said that patients need valuable information to help them stop smoking at such a crucial time.

"These findings can help cancer clinicians identify patients who are at risk for smoking and guide tobacco counselling treatment development for cancer patients," she added.

Scientists specifically looked at how many people gave up smoking upon diagnosis and found that 39 per cent of lung cancer patients and 14 per cent of those with colorectal cancer were smoking.

After five months, some 14 per cent of lung cancer sufferers and nine per cent of colorectal cancer patients had not kicked the habit.

Information collected by Cancer Research UK showed that around 86 per cent of lung cancer deaths in the UK are caused by smoking.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Park, Elyse, et al., "A snapshot of smokers following lung and colorectal cancer diagnosis.", CANCER; Published Online: January 23, 2012.

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