In January, UW-CTRI will start reaching out directly to some UW Carbone Cancer Center patients who smoke to let them know about their tobacco treatment options. Patients will also be invited to join a new study comparing two active treatments to see which helps more people with cancer quit smoking.
Connecting patients living with cancer with treatment to help them quit tobacco use is an important pillar of good cancer care.
Quitting smoking after cancer diagnoses helps people recover from cancer and helps prevent recurrences and new cancers.
This Smoking Treatment for Oncology Patients Study (the STOP Cancer Study) is just the latest step in a long-standing partnership between UW-CTRI and the Carbone Cancer Center on ways to enhance cancer care through tobacco treatment. This study also builds on UW-CTRI leadership of the NCI Moonshot Cancer Center Cessation Initiative (C3I) Coordinating Center that has helped 52 NCI-designated cancer centers offer tobacco treatment to more than 100,000 patients over the past 6 years.
UW-CTRI founders Dr. Tim Baker and Dr. Michael Fiore recently edited the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Tobacco Control Monograph #23: Treating Smoking in Cancer Patients: An Essential Component of Cancer Care that highlights the value of treating tobacco use in cancer care.
This monograph helped inform the interventions that will be used to treat tobacco use at the Carbone Cancer Center, Fiore said.
Dr. Danielle McCarthy will serve as Principal Investigator of the STOP Cancer Study with the support of many UW-CTRI team members, including Drs. Fiore and Baker. McCarthy is the UW-CTRI Director for Implementation and Health Services Research and also directs the C3I Coordinating Center.
“This is an exciting and challenging project that will help us adapt our smoking cessation outreach and counseling approaches to the specific needs of people dealing with cancer or its effects,” McCarthy said. “We have assembled a great team that is up to this important challenge!”
The short-term goals of the STOP Cancer Study are to identify specific smoking treatment needs of patients living with cancer, and then to adapt smoking cessation treatment outreach and counseling to address those needs.
People who consent to enter the STOP Cancer Study will be randomized to a standard care or an enhanced care condition to see which treatment helps more people quit smoking. Standard care will offer three counseling calls and two weeks of using the nicotine patch. Enhanced care will offer seven counseling calls tailored to the unique challenges of living with cancer and 12 weeks of varenicline, a non-nicotine medication.
The long-term objective of this work is to identify promising strategies to evaluate in larger-scale trials and then disseminate to cancer programs. This is part of the larger UW-CTRI effort to improve cessation treatment effectiveness and delivery for patients living with cancer.
UW-CTRI Researcher Mark Zehner, who is serving as lead implementer for the project, said, “We have been met with open arms by our colleagues at Carbone. And yet, we’re seeing that there often isn’t an internal process for addressing tobacco use with cancer patients. So, we hope to work together to build that.”
“It’s never too late to stop smoking,” said Dr. Jesse Kaye, UW-CTRI researcher and project director. “We know that stopping smoking can be very difficult, and that it can also have a tremendous positive impact on cancer treatment and patients’ quality of life. We look forward to helping support people to put out their cigarettes as part of their cancer journey.”