Old Habits Die Hard: Helping Cancer Patients Stop Smoking
It’s a sad but familiar scene near the grounds of many medical campuses: hospital-gowned patients, some toting rolling IV poles, huddled in clumps under bus shelters or warming areas, smoking cigarettes.
Smoking causes 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 87 percent of all lung cancer deaths. Yet, roughly 50 percent to 83 percent of cancer patients keep smoking after a cancer diagnosis, through treatment and beyond, says Sonia Duffy, University of Michigan School of Nursing researcher. For patients who quit on their own, relapse rates (as in the general population) are as high as 85 percent.
Yet, continued smoking severely hampers cancer treatment, increases cancer recurrence and decreases survival, she says.
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