June 6, 2023
Last week, cardiothoracic surgeon Timothy W. Mullett, MD, MBA, FACS, Chair of the ACS Commission on Cancer (CoC), participated in a forum hosted by the White House focused on expanding equitable access to smoking cessation programs.
The event was part of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, which includes efforts to reduce the burden of preventable cancers, including tobacco-related cancers. A recording of the forum’s introductory talks can be viewed online.
“I’m grateful that smoking cessation is an essential part of the Cancer Moonshot discussion because it is essential that we raise awareness about this issue,” Dr. Mullet said. “All of us physicians need to be having more frank conversations with our patients about smoking cessation. It can not only reduce the risk of getting cancer, but it can also reduce the risk of dying from other smoking-related illnesses that may occur during or after cancer treatment.”
The CoC has played an important role in examining the importance of smoking cessation interventions and programs in patients with existing cancer, beginning with the 2022 Just ASK Quality Improvement Project & Clinical Study. 776 programs across the US participated in the initiative, which led to increases in the three 3As (ASK, ADVISE, and ASSIST) for smoking assessment and treatment.
The next study, BeyondASK, aims to increase the effectiveness of empathic advice for patients about the need to quit tobacco and ASSIST patients in getting effective treatment. The ultimate goal of these projects is to develop a standard that would lead every accredited cancer program (nearly 2,000 nationally) to improve the delivery of effective tobacco treatment to all cancer patients at risk.