Many physicians report feeling unprepared to help their cancer patients quit smoking

New research from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) indicates that many doctors are not helping their cancer patients quit smoking, reports Fox News. Though more than 90 percent of the doctors surveyed believe that smoking cessation services should be a part of routine care, only 39 percent do so. One possible reason: A belief among those surveyed that patients are unwilling or unlikely to pursue smoking cessation treatment.

In a press release from IASLC, study author Dr. Graham Warren said:

“As clinicians and researchers, we must work to improve access to tobacco cessation resources and improve effective methods of tobacco cessation for cancer patients.” 

The survey was conducted in 2012 and included 1,500 doctors who are members of IASLC. It asked doctors questions on their practices and their views on helping patients beat their tobacco habit. The study was a collaboration between researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Medical University of South Carolina, Yale University and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; it was published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

The Polaris Oncology Distress Management System, developed with funding from the National Institutes of Health, helps physicians better address tobacco use among their patients. The system includes screening questions for current and past tobacco use, and can generate automated referrals for those patients who screen positive. The system’s motivational patient feedback report provides information directly to the patient on local and online tobacco cessation treatment services. It also offers educational information on the risks of continued tobacco use. Learn more.