Cigarette-smoking characteristics and interest in cessation in patients with head-and-neck cancer
Purpose Many patients diagnosed with head-and-neck cancer are current or former smokers. Despite the well-known adverse effects of smoking, continuation of smoking during cancer treatment is associated with reduced efficacy of that treatment and with cancer recurrence. In the present study, we examined smoking characteristics in patients with head-and-neck cancer near the time of cancer treatment.
Methods A prospective cohort of patients with head-and-neck cancer who attended a dental oncology clinic before receiving cancer treatment at a regional cancer centre were invited to participate in a study that involved completing an interviewer-administered questionnaire to assess smoking characteristics, intention to quit, motivation to quit, and strategies perceived to potentially aid in successful cessation.
Results The study enrolled 493 ever-smokers, with a response rate of 96.1% and a self-reported current smoker rate of 37.1% (n = 183). Most of the current smokers reported high nicotine dependence, with 84.7% (n = 155) indicating a time to first cigarette of 30 minutes or less. Most had previously attempted to quit smoking (77.0%), and many had prior unsuccessful quit attempts before resuming smoking again. Most were interested in quitting smoking (85.8%), and many (70.5%) were seriously considering quitting smoking within the subsequent 30 days.
Conclusions Patients with head-and-neck cancer reported high nicotine dependence and high interest in cessation opportunities near the time of treatment for cancer. Those results might provide support for provision of smoking cessation opportunities.