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Smoking Cessation in Regional Cancer Programs

Key findings

The proportion of new ambulatory cancer patients screened for tobacco use in Ontario’s regional cancer centres increased from 50% in January 2016 to 69% in December 2018. While this screening rate reached a high of 72% for several months in 2018, the increasing trend appears to have plateaued at about 70% in 2017 and 2018.  

Why is this important to Ontarians?

  • Smoking cessation has been shown to improve cancer prognosis. Patients respond better to treatment, have less toxicity from radiation therapy and experience better post-surgical wound healing. In addition, quitting smoking may decrease the possibility of the cancer returning following treatment, or of a second primary cancer developing.[1]
  • To ensure the delivery of quality cancer care, screening new ambulatory cancer patients for tobacco use helps cancer centres identify and support cancer patients to quit smoking tobacco. The tobacco screening measurement indicates smoking cessation activity across Ontario over time.

    See Smoking Cessation Methodology for technical information.

Report date: April 2019
Data source: Data Book (Cancer Care Ontario)
Prepared by: Cancer Care Ontario, Prevention and Cancer Control (Population Health and Prevention)

Data Table 1. Reported tobacco screening among new ambulatory cancer patients, 2016 to 2018
  Percentage of new patients screened for tobacco use
16-Jan 50
16-Feb 52.5
16-Mar 55.4
16-Apr 60.6
16-May 59.4
16-Jun 62.2
16-Jul 66.2
16-Aug 64.2
16-Sep 66.5
16-Oct 66.1
16-Nov 67.3
16-Dec 68.2
17-Jan 65.2
17-Feb 66
17-Mar 67.4
17-Apr 69.7
17-May 68.7
17-Jun 68.4
17-Jul 69.7
17-Aug 70.3
17-Sep 69.3
17-Oct 68.9
17-Nov 69.9
17-Dec 70.2
18-Jan 72
18-Feb 70.7
18-Mar 69.1
18-Apr 70.4
18-May 71.7
18-Jun 72.5
18-Jul 71.6
18-Aug 70.6
18-Sep 70.8
18-Oct 69.3
18-Nov 70.5
18-Dec 68.9

Report date: April 2019
Data source: Data Book (Cancer Care Ontario)
Prepared by: Cancer Care Ontario, Prevention and Cancer Control (Population Health and Prevention)

Results

  • Between January 2016 and December 2018, the proportion of new ambulatory cancer patients screened for tobacco use increased from 50% to 69% (Figure 1). Over this period, there was an initial increase in the tobacco screening rate in 2016 from 50% to 70%. However, in 2017 and 2018, the screening rate plateaued at around 70% across Ontario’s 14 regional cancer centres.

Opportunities

  • Cancer Care Ontario’s Prevention and Cancer Control program works with smoking cessation champions in the regional cancer centres to promote a community of practice and drive improvements at centres with lower screening rates. In 2019/20, the provincial target for tobacco use screening on Cancer Care Ontario’s Regional Scorecard will increase from 75% to 80%, in an effort to further drive performance.
  • A goal of Cancer Care Ontario’s smoking cessation program is to expand to new program areas, including the diagnostic phase, hospitals hosting regional cancer centres, cancer centre satellite locations and community partners. Efforts are also under way to explore opportunities to measure outcomes among cancer patients who smoked tobacco when they registered at the cancer centre, but who have quit smoking.

Reference

  1. Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 years of Progress: A report of the Surgeon General [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2019 May 17].  Available from https://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/reports-and-publications/tobacco/index.html