Many people continue to smoke after being diagnosed with cancer, according to a new report.
Doctors say smoking is such an addictive habit that many people still light up, even they are severely sick.
New data published in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, reveals cancer patients rely on tobacco to get them through the day and found a large number of colon and lung cancer patients did not kick the habit, despite knowing that it was not good for them.
Quitting tobacco is crucial after a cancer diagnosis because smoking can delay treatment results, according to physicians.
The study looked at 5,338 lung and colorectal cancer patients.
At the time of their diagnosis, 39 percent of lung cancer patients and 14 percent of colorectal cancer patients were smoking.
Five months later 14 percent of lung cancer patients and 9 percent of colorectal cancer patients were still smoking
The report notes that lung cancer patients who still smoked after a cancer diagnosis were usually on Medicare or other public health insurance, had not received chemotherapy or surgery, had prior heart disease and were long-term heavy smokers..
Patients with colorectal cancer who continued to smoke tended to be under-educated males and uninsured. They were also heavy smokers prior to being treated.
Researchers hope the data can guide oncologists to identify continuous smokers, so doctors can help patients to stay smoke free.
Dr. Carolyn Dressler, of the Arkansas Department of Health in Little Rock, who accompanied the editorial in the journal, noted the importance of physicians and other caretakers to address tobacco termination, especially when cancer patients are diagnosed.
"Most clinicians acknowledge the importance of addressing tobacco cessation in their patients; however, few do it," Dressler wrote.
"We know enough now to implement effective cessation programs to identify and help cancer patients quit at the time of diagnosis and support them to prevent relapse. By doing so, we maximize patients' response to therapy, their quality of life, and their longevity."
The study follows a recent report released by researchers in Florida that discovered a link between smoking and skin cancer in women.