Offer Smoking Cessation Help With Lung Cancer Screening for Patients Who Smoke

Smokers who visit a clinician for lung cancer screening should also be encouraged to quit smoking at that visit. Evidence-based behavioral strategies should be used, at each visit, to motivate smokers to quit.1

This study references a recent US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation that heavy smokers undergo a yearly screening for lung cancer. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has also approved lung cancer screenings as a preventive service benefit.

"We are very happy about this Task Force recommendation and the approval of lung cancer screening as a benefit by CMS. Lung screening with low-dose CT will save many lives by detecting lung cancer at earlier, treatable stages," explained Benjamin A. Toll, PhD, associate professor of public health at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and coauthor of the study.

"However, it is critical that we provide tobacco treatment in conjunction with lung screening. Most patients will not have lung cancer, and we do not want this to be perceived as a free pass to smoke. We also wanted to highlight the multiple benefits of smoking cessation."

"Moreover, research by my colleague and co-director, Dr. Nichole Tanner, convincingly shows that lung cancer risk is reduced even further when you combine lung cancer screening with smoking cessation," he said.

This guideline was developed by the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) and the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence (ATTUD).

Regardless of scan results, all smokers should be given access to evidence-based interventions to help them quit smoking. Efforts to quit should be supported with follow-up contacts.

"Quitting smoking is the most important step patients can take to minimize risk for lung cancer and to also improve overall health," Toll said. "Combining smoking cessation with lung cancer screening will maximize the benefits of screening."

REFERENCE

1. Fucito LM, Czabafy S, Hendricks PS, et al. Pairing smoking-cessation services with lung cancer screening: a clinical guideline from the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence and the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. Cancer. 2016;122:1150-1159. doi:10.1002/cncr.29926.

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