Implementation of the Smoking Treatment and Recovery (STAR) program: healthy cancer survivorship through integrated tobacco control
It is well-established that persistent tobacco use among patients with cancer results in numerous adverse outcomes. However, the assessment and treatment of tobacco use with evidence-based methods have been lacking in cancer care. Our cancer center has established its first tobacco treatment program, a multidisciplinary, evidence-based, clinical program for hematology/oncology patients.
We describe the development and implementation of the program, emphasizing lessons learned in treating nicotine addiction among patients who are at very high risk for continuing to use tobacco throughout the survivorship phase.
We developed a system to assess tobacco use at each outpatient visit, from those recently diagnosed to long-term survivors. For patients who have smoked in the past month, the protocol offers standard behavioral and pharmacological treatments, delivered by tobacco treatment specialists and nurse practitioners over four in-person and/or telephone-based sessions. Partnerships with the Psychosocial Oncology and Cancer Survivorship Programs have provided integrated and comprehensive care for patients during and after their cancer treatment.
The systematic efforts to reach and engage current smokers have laid the groundwork for maximizing the program’s future effectiveness and impact. Our initial results demonstrate not only the complexities but also the feasibility of developing a new tobacco treatment program in the oncology setting.
Implications for cancer survivors
The implications for cancer survivors are the significant improvements in treatment outcomes that occur with tobacco abstinence.
KeywordsTobacco use Smoking cessation Program development
The program described was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P30CA051008-26S1 (PI: Weiner) and by the Survey, Recruitment, and Biospecimen Shared Resource which is partially supported by P30CA051008. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the National Institutes of Health.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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