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Smoking Cessation in the Regional Cancer Programs

Tobacco use increases the risk of over 20 different types of cancer. It contributes to 30 percent of all cancer deaths and up to 90 per cent of lung cancer deaths.

One in five new cancer patients at a cancer centre in Ontario are current or recent tobacco users.

It is never too late for tobacco cessation to provide a benefit and it is never too late to quit.

The risk of dying can be lowered 30 to 40 percent by quitting smoking at the time of cancer diagnosis. Quitting also lowers the chance of the cancer returning or another type of cancer developing.

It can also improve treatment outcomes.

  • Surgery: Patients who have quit smoking are less likely to have infections or complications during or after surgery.
  • Radiation Therapy: Smoking reduces the level of oxygen in blood and radiation therapy works best when the amount of oxygen in the body is normal. Quitting can also help reduce side effects.
  • Chemotherapy: Cigarette smoke has chemicals that can lower the amount of some chemotherapy drugs in the blood, making them less effective.

For some cancer diagnoses, the benefit of smoking cessation may be equal to, or even exceed, the value of state-of-the-art cancer therapies. Read this brochure for more information about the benefits of quitting smoking.

We support the implementation of a smoking cessation initiative in Ontario’s Regional Cancer Programs using a framework developed by smoking cessation experts.

  • Ask — Talk to new cancer patients about their tobacco use.
  • Advise — Inform them about the benefits of quitting.
  • Act — Refer them to smoking cessation services for support.

There is a smoking cessation "Champion" at each Regional Cancer Program and clinical staff are educated on the importance of quitting smoking for their patients’ health outcomes. Smoking cessation activities are an essential component of quality cancer care.

Quitting smoking is one of the best things a patient can do to make their cancer treatment work better.

It’s never too late to quit!

Last modified: Mon, Jun 05, 2017
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