Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of cancer death worldwide, claiming more than 6 million lives each year. Both in our community and globally, tobacco use is a health disparity — most users live in poverty. The Transdisciplinary Tobacco Research Program fights this epidemic on three research fronts:
- Basic science, studying cardiovascular, neurological and cancer outcomes after prenatal tobacco exposure
- Clinical research into low-cost tobacco cessation treatments
- Population-based research on implementing tobacco control policies
Through these efforts, we hope to reduce tobacco use and cancer mortality disparities both in our community and around the world.
Reducing Lung Cancer Mortality
Screening & Prevention
To reduce lung cancer deaths in our community, a prevention path was developed and implemented in our hospitals. Patients with a history of smoking are provided resources to help them stay healthy:
- Counseling for smoking cessation to prevent further damage
- Low-dose CT (LDCT) scanning to identify potential issues while reducing radiation exposure of lung tissue versus other imaging techniques
- Sophisticated analysis of screening results to identify if and when a patient should see various specialists
- Reminders to follow-up and continue regular screening
Screening these high-risk patients with LDCT early and often has the potential to reduce lung cancer mortality by up to 20%.
Cessation Before Lung Cancer Surgery
In order to reduce lung cancer mortality, patients are encouraged to quit or reduce tobacco use before surgery. Doing so can reduce surgical complications and long-term mortality.