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National Cancer Institute

Post Treatment Health: The Current State of Interventions

Presentation 4: Prevention Among Cancer Survivors – The Example of Smoking Cessation

Karen M. Emmons, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Society, Human Development and Health
Harvard School of Public Health
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, MA

  • Smoking prevention is a particular issue for childhood cancer survivors, many of whom complete treatment around the age at which people are most likely to take up smoking.
  • Research on interventions to help survivors quit smoking is difficult because survivors may move often and have different histories and experiences with cancer and cancer treatment.
  • The Partnerships for Health Study compared a self-help group who received physician message and self-help materials with an intervention group who received physician messages, tailored and targeted materials, peer-delivered telephone counseling, and nicotine replacement therapies. After 1 year, almost 16 percent of the intervention group had abstained from smoking compared with 8 percent of the self-help group.
  • Smoking cessation programs should be a part of survivorship programs; we need to increase oncologist’s understanding of the importance of providing smoking cessation services to cancer survivors.

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