According to a new study it is observed that motivating people to give up smoking, after a cancer diagnosis, is not necessarily more effective than just ordering them to quit. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they may well be more responsive than ever before to the idea of giving up smoking. Researchers at the Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Centre, in Melbourne, have been considering at the best way to support people in this situation.
In a study covering 250 people diagnosed with cancer, motivation therapy was compared to just telling people to quit smoking. In motivation therapy, the patient got counseling, support and nicotine replacement, while the control group was told to give up smoking and given information leaflets. Even though motivation therapy involved more time, effort and expense, it was not more effective at getting people to quit.
But the study showed how some people were more likely to quit successfully than others. Those whose cancer was smoking-related - such as lung, head and neck, or bladder cancer - were more likely to give up. Counseling people to quit smoking when they have cancer is tricky - for instance, if stress makes them smoke, it would be better to address the causes of the stress first. And some patients believe it is too late to give up once they have cancer. They should be informed that, in fact, quitting smoking may improve the outcome of the disease, even after it has been diagnosed.