Smoking is the most common form of addiction and is very difficult to give up. Unfortunately, it also diminishes the impact of the treatment of cancer. The Cancer Center at the University of New Mexico has provided a new initiative for cancer patients that will help them in beating their addiction.
“We want to make sure that [our patients] get the highest benefit from their treatment,” said the Head of the Cancer team, Dr. Emrullah Yilmaz. “Quitting improves the outcome from the treatment.”
Yilmaz is currently the co-leader of the new Smoking Cessation program of the center that has been given a grant of 500,000 dollars.
“This program will become part of patients’ treatment,” said Yilmaz.
National guidelines based on the studies for assisting people in quitting smoking will be followed. The team will initially be providing services to people suffering from head and neck cancers and then later, they will expand so that all the cancer patients can be helped in the next 2 years.
The scientific lead of the program will be Dr. Linda Cook, who will be focusing on the efficiency of the Smoking Cessation program.
“Everyone with cancer who smokes will improve their surgical, chemotherapy and radiation outcomes if they quit,” she explained. “It does not matter if smoking caused their cancer or not.”
Patients are frequently informed about quitting but that is not sufficient. “They need help and follow-up,” Yilmaz says. “It’s very challenging to leave a habit they’ve had for many years, so we will make sure that we follow up with these patients in our clinic.”
Quintana and Yilmaz have planned many different ways in order to help people suffering from cancer to quit smoking.
Yilmaz has said that her team will help the people no matter what. She further said, “We won’t leave the patients on their own.”