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How Cancer Patients Can Quit Smoking

Smoking causes many cancers, and its effects after cancer diagnosis are severe. Some of the effects include decreased survival rate and also increased risk of the disease recurring. Secondary malignancy, stress, treatment toxicity, depression and reduced quality of life are other effects of continued smoking. Most patients continue to smoke even during treatment. It is therefore important to help such patients quit smoking through counselling sessions.

Quitting smoking has a great impact on cancer treatment. Therefore it should be integrated into cancer care. Smoking cessation may be a challenge for cancer patients especially when they relapse or are depressed, anxious, stressed or have an urge to smoke.

Here’s how to help cancer patients quit smoking:

  • Smoking cessation should be included in all cancer services while the patient is undergoing treatment.
  • A team-based approach by oncologists to cessation care will enable oncologists to engage the patient on the need to quit. They can offer motivational information and advice on the benefits of quitting. Together with the patient, they can develop a plan for the best support and referral strategy to handle the situation.
  • The physicians can engage health professional who are quite accessible, well-resourced and trained in such matters. They should be individuals who have expertise in the areas of treatment of cancer and smoking cessation.
  • Oncologists should often make follow-ups on the progress of the patient will help in preventing a relapse and also provide continuity.

Quitting smoking is not easy, but with the help of professionals, a cancer patient can devise ways to do this. The thought of the benefits one can have after quitting should be the first motivation for the patient. By listing the reasons for stopping, planning the first step, getting rid of the things that compel them to smoke and trying to find distractions, patients can have a head start through the support of friends, family and health care professionals. Some patients can opt to engage in stop smoking services to support their decisions. Using medicines can also help to reduce the craving for a cigarette.

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