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J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2011 Oct;55(5):526-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-9485.2011.02295.x.

Smoking habits of radiotherapy patients: did the diagnosis of cancer make an impact and is there an opportunity to intervene?

Author information

1
Alfred Hospital, Prahran, Victoria.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the impact of a cancer diagnosis on smoking habits in patients receiving radiotherapy and assess the opportunity to intervene.

METHODS:

One hundred consecutive patients were interviewed. They included patients newly diagnosed with cancer of any type and receiving radiotherapy. Detailed information was collected including smoking habits before and after the diagnosis, the timing of and reasons for any changes. We also asked about patients' view of the role of the radiation oncologist in smoking cessation and the opportunities for intervention. Analysis of results involved simple descriptive statistics.

RESULTS:

Although there were only 14 current smokers, only two had decided to quit. Five smokers decreased smoking, six did not change and one increased smoking. One non-smoker (1/34) took up smoking. Nearly all changes occurred within the first 30 days of diagnosis. Most (79%, 11/14) smokers believed that the treating radiation oncologist should discuss smoking cessation with their patients and that the ideal timing is at either the first consultation or when decisions about treatment have been finalised.

CONCLUSIONS:

The diagnosis of cancer can motivate patients to reduce smoking, but few quit altogether and a smaller number increase or even take up smoking. These changes occur early after receiving a diagnosis of cancer. Patients with a smoking history believed that the treating radiation oncologist should discuss smoking cessation with their patients and that the ideal timing is at the first consultation. The periodic nature of treatments and consultations at radiation oncology centres suggest there is the potential for an effective smoking cessation programme.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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