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Keywords:

  • tobacco use;
  • smoking relapse;
  • head and neck cancer;
  • lung cancer

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cancer patients who continue smoking are at increased risk for adverse outcomes including reduced treatment efficacy and poorer survival rates. Many patients spontaneously quit smoking after diagnosis; however, relapse is understudied. The goal of this study was to evaluate smoking-related, affective, cognitive, and physical variables as predictors of smoking after surgical treatment among patients with lung cancer and head and neck cancer.

METHODS:

A longitudinal study was conducted with 154 patients (57% male) who recently quit smoking. Predictor variables were measured at baseline (ie, time of surgery); smoking behavior was assessed at 2, 4, 6, and 12 months after surgery. Analyses of 7-day point prevalence were performed using a Generalized Estimating Equations approach.

RESULTS:

Relapse rates varied significantly depending on presurgery smoking status. At 12 months after surgery, 60% of patients who smoked during the week prior to surgery had resumed smoking versus only 13% who were abstinent prior to surgery. Smoking rates among both groups were relatively stable across the 4 follow-ups. For patients smoking before surgery (N = 101), predictors of smoking relapse included lower quitting self-efficacy, higher depression proneness, and greater fears about cancer recurrence. For patients abstinent before surgery (N = 53), higher perceived difficulty quitting and lower cancer-related risk perceptions predicted smoking relapse.

CONCLUSIONS:

Efforts to encourage early cessation at diagnosis, and increased smoking relapse-prevention efforts in the acute period following surgery, may promote long-term abstinence. Several modifiable variables are identified to target in future smoking relapse-prevention interventions for cancer patients. Cancer 2013. © 2012 American Cancer Society.