Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the US. About 50% of lung cancer patients are current smokers at the time of diagnosis and up to 83% continue to smoke after diagnosis. A recent study suggests that people who continue to smoke after a diagnosis of early-stage lung cancer almost double their risk of dying. Despite a growing body of evidence that continued smoking by patients after a lung cancer diagnosis is linked with less effective treatment and a poorer prognosis, the belief prevails that treating tobacco dependence is useless. With improved cancer treatments and survival rates, smoking cessation among lung cancer patients has become increasingly important. There is a pressing need to clarify the role of smoking cessation in the care of lung cancer patients.
This paper will report on the benefits of smoking cessation for lung cancer patients and the elements of smoking cessation treatment, with consideration of tailoring to the needs of lung cancer patients.
Given the significant benefits of smoking cessation and that tobacco dependence remains a challenge for many lung cancer patients, cancer care providers need to offer full support and intensive treatment with a smoking cessation program that is tailored to lung cancer patients’ specific needs.
A tobacco dependence treatment plan for lung cancer patients is provided.
Key Words: Lung cancer, Tobacco dependence, Older smokers