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MD Anderson revisits long-term efforts in smoking and tobacco-cessation by its scientists, researchers and clinicians

Wednesday March 26, 2014
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To commemorate the 1964 U.S. Surgeon Generalís Report on Smoking and Health, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston outlined the ongoing efforts of its scientists, researchers and clinicians over the years in successful smoking and tobacco-cessation areas.

According to a news release, MD Andersonís ongoing research includes:

-Investigating the neurological links to tobacco use to determine what brain mechanisms
trigger smoking.
-Examining genetic predispositions that make people more susceptible to smoking, or identifying smokers more tolerant of cessation drugs and therefore more likely to achieve success.
-Strengthening behavioral counseling methods so they are better tailored to smokers.
-Increasing healthcare provider involvement in anti-smoking efforts. This initiative is based on research that shows providers are extremely helpful in encouraging smokers to quit.
-Targeting groups more susceptible to smoking including people with lower socioeconomic status, minorities and youth before they begin using tobacco products.

Lung screening trial participation

MD Anderson also played a pivotal role in the National Lung Screening Trial. The cancer center was one of 33 sites that participated in the National Cancer Institute study, recruiting more than 700 participants. Results from the NLST showed a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths for high-risk smokers who underwent the low-dose helical CT scan. As a result, MD Anderson launched the Lung Cancer Screening Program in 2011 to screen heavy smokers for lung cancer. Screening can reduce deaths from lung cancer, but it is not a substitute for quitting.

Moon shots

Lung cancer is one of the cancers being targeted by MD Andersonís Moon Shots Program, a 10-year effort to rapidly decrease cancer deaths. Tobacco control is one of three initiatives of the lung cancer moon shots. Later this year, MD Anderson will announce details of its End Tobacco plan to help significantly reduce lung cancer deaths and other tobacco-related diseases. The other cancers that are part of the moon shots program include acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; melanoma; prostate cancer; and triple-negative breast and high-grade serous ovarian cancers. For more information, http://www.mdanderson.org, and search for anti-smoking-milestone.

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