Effects of active non-smoking programmes on smoking behaviour in oral precancer patients
Smoking is the commonest risk factor for oral cancer and precancer. The objective of this study was to characterize smoking behaviour and attitude in a cohort of oral precancer patients in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and to determine changes in behaviour during diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Twenty-seven consecutive, smoking patients with dysplastic oral lesions were recruited to the study and a detailed smoking history obtained, quantifying types and numbers of cigarettes smoked, length of smoking history, and changes in smoking behaviour during treatment episodes and long-term follow-up. All patients underwent an interventional management protocol comprising risk-factor education, histopathological diagnosis by incisional biopsy and laser excision of lesions. Patients were followed up for 5 years. Whilst there was a significant decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked at patients' most recent follow-up compared with initial presentation (p<0.001), 74% continued to smoke. Patients received advice from a smoking cessation adviser on support available to them from the local NHS (National Health Service) Stop Smoking services. Six out of 10 patients who set a 'quit date' and attended a programme had quit at the 4-week follow-up but only 5 remained non-smokers. Smoking remains a considerable problem in oral precancer patients even after interventional treatment, with the risk of further precancerous lesions and malignant transformation.
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