Smoking is known to adversely affect cancer survivors' quality of life, and now a new study shows that health care providers are failing to assist patients in kicking the butt.
The study led by Fox Chase Cancer Centre shows that more than a quarter of cancer survivors who still smoke have not been advised to quit smoking by their health care providers.
According to the researchers health care providers, from doctors to dentists to nurses, are missing an opportunity to make a dramatic difference in the quality of life of their patients.
"While smoking cessation is difficult, it can play an important role in increasing cancer survivors' quality of life," said paper's lead author Dr Elliot Coups, former associate member of Fox Chase Cancer Centre's faculty and a participant in the Fox Chase Keystone Program in Cancer Risk and Prevention.
"Time and again, studies have shown that people really do listen to what is said at the doctor's office in regards to smoking, so health care providers need to take advantage of this teachable moment," Coups added.
Smoking is known to affect survivors' quality of life, lower their projected life-spans, and to increase their risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as second, unrelated cancers.
"With improvements in cancer medicine, we are seeing a growing population of cancer survivors who are returning to their primary physicians with their unique medical issues," said Dr Carolyn Heckman, assistant professor at Fox Chase Cancer Centre and a co-author of the study. "
Smoking cessation, in particular, needs to be addressed at every visit with a health care provider," Heckman added.he study appears in Journal of General Internal Medicine.