At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, smoking cessation is a priority. Ours was one of the first centers in the country to have a service devoted specifically to managing nicotine dependence in cancer patients.
An institution-wide effort at Memorial Sloan-Kettering ensures that patients who are interested in quitting smoking are offered effective treatment and support. In addition to outpatient counseling, a full-time nurse clinician is available to work with nicotine-dependent patients who are being admitted to the hospital and to provide support for remaining smoke-free following their discharge.
Cancer Patients Have Unique Concerns about Quitting
Many patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have told us that getting cancer was a “wake-up call” for them to quit. We understand the unique challenge of wanting to stop smoking, while at the same time needing to find other ways to deal with the stress of cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as the fear of cancer recurrence. Our Smoking Cessation Program specializes in dealing with the concerns of cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their family members. Our team of trained professionals offers individual and group counseling to people who want to quit or those who are thinking about it.
It Is Never Too Late to Quit Smoking
If you are a cancer patient who smokes, you should consider the important health benefits of quitting, whether or not your cancer is smoking -related. Some cancer patients wonder if it is too late for them to quit. It is never too late to benefit from quitting smoking.
People with cancer who stop smoking, even at the time they are diagnosed with the disease, tend to have a better response to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, survive longer, and have fewer side effects from their treatments.
- If you have surgery, quitting smoking can lessen your chances of having complications and enhance your recovery and healing.
- Quitting smoking lowers your risk of having the cancer come back. It also lessens your risk of getting another tobacco-related cancer.
- Quitting reduces your risk of other smoking-related diseases, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and coronary artery disease.
- Gaining control over and breaking the smoking habit can provide you with a sense of accomplishment. It can be particularly encouraging to know that there is something you can do to improve your chances of surviving the disease.
What to Expect – Your First Session
The program begins with a one-hour, individual consultation with one of our smoking cessation counselors, covering the following:
- Your medical history and whether you are currently receiving cancer treatments
- How to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while you are in the hospital and when you return home
- A history of your smoking behavior and past attempts to quit
- An in-depth look at your lifestyle, smoking patterns, and individual smoking triggers
- How you handle stress, and what stress management techniques might work best for you
- Whether you live or work with other smokers
- How ready and motivated you are to begin the process of quitting
- Whether nicotine replacement, pharmacological (drug) or behavioral therapies, or a combination of approaches will be most beneficial for you
We Know It's Hard to Quit!
At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Counseling Center's Smoking Cessation Program, we have a great deal of experience in managing nicotine dependence, and we can recommend nicotine replacement and other approaches to assist you during the first few months of quitting. We can also help you to manage your nicotine dependence while you are in the hospital or having medical procedures. Indeed, if you have had to give up smoking because you were recently in the hospital, consider this break a trial run.
Most smokers experience few physical withdrawal symptoms after two weeks without smoking. However, the most common symptom that individuals who recently quit smoking experience is the craving for a cigarette. It may help you to remember that smoking urges last only for a few minutes and then pass, whether or not you have a cigarette. We can help you learn various individualized techniques for coping with these cravings without lighting up our Smoking Cessation Tools and Techniques.
Most smokers try to quit more than once before finally succeeding. It is important to realize that these attempts are not failures, but practice in preparation for becoming a nonsmoker. The method of quitting that suits you best will depend on how much you smoke and how ready you are to quit. We can help you to find out where you are in the quitting process and how to take the next step. Our experts use a range of individually tailored methods to help each person find alternative, healthy ways to resist the craving to smoke — and to quit smoking permanently.
Make It a “Family Affair”
A diagnosis of cancer is a crisis in any family. Our experience in working with cancer patients and their loved ones has shown that it can also be an opportunity for an entire family to focus on restoring health and preventing further disease. All of the treatment approaches used in our Smoking Cessation Program, from motivational counseling and stress management to nicotine replacement and behavioral techniques, are also available for your family members who want to quit.
We Can Help
Whether you've just been diagnosed with cancer, are undergoing treatment, or have overcome the disease, our Smoking Cessation Program can help you stop smoking. If you have decided to quit or are just thinking about it, contact us at 212-610-0507 for an appointment. We're here to lend a hand.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Counseling Center
641 Lexington, 7th Floor
On 54th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues
New York, NY 10021