Meta-study finds even the best cancer treatments don't address tobacco use

Friday, August 17, 2012 by: Willa Anderson
Tags: cancer treatments, tobacco addiction, risks

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(NaturalNews) Besides testing the effectiveness of cancer treatments on the cancer, additional assessments are in place to ensure that the treatment design is effectively meeting the needs of the patients. A recent study that evaluated 155 clinic trial programs that are run and funded by the National Cancer Institute found some concerning results.

Risks misunderstood and not avoided

Tobacco use remains one of the largest predictors for the development of cancers. While commonly viewed as a precursor to just lung cancer, the toxins that are found in cigarettes enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.

Tobacco use is known to disrupt the effectiveness of an array of different cancer treatments. When conducting an overview examination of the past and ongoing clinic trials for cancer treatments, researchers from the Department of Radiation Medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) found that most of these studies not only included patients who used tobacco products, but only in rare circumstances was recorded for these patients.

They found that only 30 percent of the trials even asked about tobacco use at the beginning of assessment and enrollment in the study program. Despite the fact that the chemicals within cigarettes present a major barrier to treatment options, fewer than five percent of the trials looked into tobacco use again after the initial assessment, and none of them made attempts to provide those in treatment with support for quitting or decreasing use.

Turning treatment against the patient

According to Dr. Graham Warren, who works at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, tobacco use increases the destructiveness of the treatment to the patient, making them both ineffective against the cancers, as well as more toxic to the patient. Even in the higher-end treatment programs, patients may still not be receiving the treatment and support they need to beat the disease.

While eliminating the use of tobacco is pivotal to the health of the individual, not keeping records of which patients are using tobacco interferes with the accuracy of the trial's understanding of the efficacy of the various treatment options. Cancer treatment is still a field that depends heavily on expanding the existing knowledge base in order to uncover potential for treatment options.

Dr. Roy Herbst, the chief of medical oncology at the Yale Cancer Center says that because tobacco use has such a unilaterally negative effect on prognosis, it is imperative that treatment programs implement smoking cessation support programs and adequately educating patients about the associated risks.

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
Willa is a health researcher who has been dedicated to promoting awareness of natural healing for over 10 years, with a keen interest in herbal medicines and natural parenting. Feel free to contact her with any questions or concerns.

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