P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre receives award
The Council for a Smoke Free P.E.I. has recognized the P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre for its new tobacco cessation program.
Research shows tobacco use by cancer patients reduces the effectiveness of their treatment and their likelihood of survival. So in January 2016, with funding from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC), the Prince Edward Island Cancer Treatment Centre began a project with the aim of helping cancer patients quit smoking.
“In the past, staff would have not thought it was appropriate to talk to a cancer patient about their smoking habits,” says Dawn MacIsaac, manager of the Cancer Treatment Centre.
“Old thinking was that you don’t want to further burden someone with cancer by suggesting they quit smoking, but the reality is that even after you have cancer, quitting smoking is still the best thing you can do for your health and it improves the effectiveness of treatment.”
With the CPAC funding, Health P.E.I. was able to train staff and embed the new model within the two cancer treatment settings at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and Prince County Hospital (PCH).
Early assessments found that 100 per cent of cancer patients at their first consultation appointment at the centres were being asked about their smoking history and being advised that quitting smoking is the most beneficial thing they can do for their health. Recent evaluation of the program showed 55 per cent of current and recent smokers accepted the offer to have follow-up with a staff member trained in quit counselling.
The council was so impressed by this progress that it presented the centre with an award at its AGM last month. Marlene Mulligan, chairwoman of the council, says the member-based organization awards local leadership in tobacco control each year.
“We are thrilled to see Health P.E.I. take steps forward in tobacco control. Reducing the smoking rate and all its related costs takes measures on many fronts and helping those who are already smoking is a key component of an effective provincial strategy.”