Cancer patients can count on their JCC team for support giving up tobacco

Dr. John Goffin, a Medical Oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC), wants patients who use tobacco to know that it’s never too late to quit or cut back.

“Everyone from healthcare aides, to nurses, to physicians and pharmacists play a role in delivering this important message to patients and supporting them,” says Dr. Goffin, who treats lung cancer patients. “As they say, it takes a village.”

Dr. Goffin works alongside specialized oncology nurse Cheryl Reid.  “Sometimes Cheryl is taking the lead and sometimes I am encouraging a patient to quit.  We both believe in the benefits and try to reinforce each others’ message.”

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Quitting smoking can be a tough row to hoe – but it’s worth it

As a kid growing up in America’s Midwest, Dr. Rosalyn Juergens remembers years of urging her farmer dad to quit smoking. “Smoking was extremely common in the farming community,” recalled Dr. Juergens. “I even gave a speech about smoking cessation at school when I was 12.  I shared the health risks and pointed out that my dad could save enough money by quitting to buy me a cherry red convertible when I turned 16!”

While the idea of splurging on a sports car for his teenage daughter didn’t provide the necessary incentive, being around in his golden years to enjoy his children and grandchildren did. Dr. Juergens’ dad smoked his last cigarette almost 20 years ago when she was in medical school.

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JCC’s Tobacco Dependence Intervention Program helps lung cancer patients butt out for better health

There’s no room for blame or shame in cancer care, says Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) Primary Care Nurse Cheryl Reid. It’s a message she’s passionate about sharing, especially with lung cancer patients who smoke.

“These patients often blame themselves for their diagnosis,” says Cheryl, who along with her physician colleague Dr. John Goffin supports lung cancer patients at the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) and is also Co-Chair of the Lung Disease Site Team serving community cancer centres in the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN. “It’s extremely important to show compassion for lung cancer patients because no one chooses to develop a tobacco addiction.”

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Cancer patients who smoke find help quitting or cutting back at the JCC Retail Pharmacy

“Patients often assume that nicotine gum or the patch are their only options,” says Anatoli Chkaroubo, staff pharmacist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) Retail Pharmacy. “They may have tried those medications years ago and weren’t successful, or they may feel that a different product would work better for them. My role is to help patients explore their options, so they find the support they need to give up tobacco in preparation for their cancer treatment and recovery.”

Anatoli is a champion for JCC’s Tobacco Dependence Intervention (TDI) Program, which follows the evidence-based Ask, Advise, Act approach for supporting new cancer patients who use tobacco. `Ask’ involves talking to new cancer patients about tobacco use. `Advising’ is informing them about the many benefits of quitting. `Act’ is referring them to services such as the JCC Retail Pharmacy for medication to help quit and Telehealth for support. To get telephone-based smoking cessation support, information, and advice, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, call Telehealth Ontario toll free at 1-866-797-0000 or toll-free TTY at 1-866-797-0007, or the number on your cigarette pack.

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Team approach helps cancer patients who smoke find the support they need to quit

The `Ask, Advise, Act’ approach for supporting new cancer patients who smoke begins with health care aides like Joel Naguit.

Joel is a champion for the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) Tobacco Dependence Intervention Program, which follows the evidence-based `Ask, Advise, Act’ system for supporting new cancer patients who use tobacco.

Joel’s role includes filling out a Smoking Cessation Assessment form, where new patients are asked if they have used tobacco in the last six months. When patients answer `yes,’ their form gets passed along to their nurse and physician, who explain the many benefits of quitting and offer information on how to access a free trial of nicotine replacement therapy medication at the JCC Pharmacy as well as a Telehealth referral.

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