Many Keep Smoking After Cancer Diagnosis - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Many Keep Smoking After Cancer Diagnosis

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MSNBC.COM - It took asthma, COPD, emphysema and finally, lung cancer to get Toni Manes, a retired cosmetologist, to try to quit smoking.

Unfortunately, the 58-year-old was so hooked, she couldn't kick the habit even after part of her left lung was removed.

"I remember my surgeon told me 'If you ever smoke again, your husband should break your fingers,'" says the Philadelphia resident, who was diagnosed and had surgery in 2010. "And I was like, 'Okay, I'm not going to smoke again.'  But then I came home from surgery, recuperated for a few weeks and started up again. I couldn't help myself."

According to a new study in the American Cancer Society journal CANCER, Manes is just one of many patients who've found themselves smoking after diagnosis.

Researchers looked at 2,456 lung cancer patients and 3,063 colorectal patients and discovered that at time of diagnosis, 38 percent of the lung cancer patients and 15 percent of the colorectal patients were smokers.

Five months later, despite a cancer diagnosis, 14 percent of the lung cancer patients were still lighting up (ditto for 9 percent of the colorectal patients).

'Why stop now?'
"People think it's a no-brainer and are surprised that cancer patients continue to smoke after they're diagnosed," says Elyse R. Park, a clinical health psychologist and associate professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and lead researcher for the study. "But people still struggle to quit even after they're diagnosed. There are a lot of barriers to quitting, including a lot of stigma."

Park says many of the people who can't quit are "hard-core" smokers, i.e., they smoke a high number of cigarettes a day. Many, also, are surrounded by other smokers. click here to read the full story

 

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