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Smoking Cessation Support Less Likely for Cancer Patients

Last Updated: October 04, 2017.

General practitioners are less likely to support cessation of smoking in patients with cancer than in those with coronary heart disease, according to a study published online Sept. 11 in the Annals of Family Medicine.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 4, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- General practitioners are less likely to support cessation of smoking in patients with cancer than in those with coronary heart disease (CHD), according to a study published online Sept. 11 in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Amanda Farley, Ph.D., from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used electronic primary care records to match 12,393 patients with incident cases of cancer diagnosed from 1999 to 2013 with incident cases of CHD diagnosed during the same period in a 1-to-1 ratio.

The researchers found that 32 and 18.2 percent of patients with cancer and CHD smoked tobacco at diagnosis. Compared to patients with CHD, patients with cancer were less likely to have their general practitioner update their smoking status, advise quitting, or prescribe medication (odds ratios, 0.18, 0.38, and 0.67, respectively); they were also less likely to have stopped smoking (odds ratio, 0.76). One year later, 61.7 and 55.4 percent of patients with cancer and CHD, respectively, who had smoked at diagnosis were still smoking. Introducing incentive payment correlated with more frequent interventions, though not for patients with CHD specifically.

"General practitioners were less likely to support smoking cessation in patients with cancer than with CHD, and patients with cancer were less likely to stop smoking," the authors write.

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