December 4, 2012
Trying to figure out why most cancer patients continue smoking after being diagnosed is a very serious and complex issue. Approximately 50 to 83 percent of cancer patients continue to smoke after a cancer diagnosis, while relapse rates for those who do quit are as high as 85 percent. Cancer patients who continue to smoke face decreases in survival and increases in cancer recurrence. Dr. Sonia Duffy, a researcher at the University of Michigan, is currently investigating the complex barriers that keep patients from breaking the habit. Duffy cites several obstacles that explain why these patients aren’t getting cessation treatment or why they don’t respond to these programs, including limited social support, lack of confidence, time constraints, depression and inadequate communication from the oncologist about smoking cessation. This continuing study seeks to find effective stop-smoking interventions for cancer patients who smoke that will enhance the access to necessary programs and help patients overcome the psychological barriers to quitting.