Keep On Keepin’ On

A new study in the American Cancer Society journal CANCER looked at 2,456 lung cancer patients and 3,063 colorectal patients and discovered that at the time of diagnosis, 38 percent of the lung cancer patients and 15 percent of the colorectal patients were smokers. Five months later, despite a cancer diagnosis, 14 percent of the lung cancer patients and 9 percent of the colorectal patients were still smoking.   So….only a little less than half quit!   One author of the study  hopes this research “will pave the way for more smoking cessation programs and treatment options for patients who are smoking at the time of their diagnosis”.  Like they are not available now?   Listen, tobacco is extremely addictive.  It was purposely created that way and many people got caught up in this habit.   Still, there really are no excuses for these cancer patients.  The meds are available to all.    The bottom line is that some people just don’t want to quit.  It is not a “cost” issue because the makers of the cessation products cleverly figured out that the cost of the medication would be what the smoker would pay on cigarettes.  For how much it costs for chemo and radiation you have to wonder what kind of money is being spent on patients who are creating their own illness.   What if patients had blood tests to detect nicotine during their treatment and had to pay a higher percentage of the bill if it was found to be elevated?  I predict that over 95% of these patients would quit smoking.  Heartless?  Yes.  Effective. Very.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  4 comments for “Keep On Keepin’ On

  1. Bridget Reidy MD
    February 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    If I got diagnosed with lung cancer today I would probably spend less than 10% of what the average lung cancer patient has spent on them for health care and I would probably take up smoking, (at least if and when the nausea kicks in), and eating carbs again.

    We are consultants who should help patients choose their goals, not dictate them as the insurance companies want us to do.

  2. Kim
    February 3, 2012 at 6:33 am

    I know very few smokers who have not wanted to quit and have not tried several times. Smoking is very addictive. I lost my husband to lung cancer at the age of 57. He tried so many times to quit, but also believed that everyone who picks up a cigarette for the 1st time knows it’s addictive and has to live with that choice. Once you are diagnosed..he was at stage 4, what would be the point? He was going to die anyway, and yes we pay for our own healthcare. I know docs try to make things better, but sometimes, empathy is what is really needed.

  3. January 28, 2012 at 6:24 am

    swing and a miss…you point out some obvious truths: smoking bad cause cancer and illness…no shit! miss the boat on nicotine addiction totally doc. one set of grandparents died of emphysema…my g’ma would take off her oxygen and go smoke—she desperately wanted to stop, but could not—she paid for her healthcare and her freaking smokes—in more ways than one. My other grandpa smoked from the time he was 12 until he died at almost 85—he had asthma and a horrible smokers cough cough—he smoked one of the toughest cigs there is, non-filter Kools.

    @Pat I have wondered the same thing myself…
    gee I wonder do tobacco farmers still get govt. subsidies too?

  4. January 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

    A shout out to all you docs who supported the government’s cracking down – along with the AMA’s backing – on Big Tobacco, and the extortion of a $206 billion/25 year settlement. Remember how all that moolah was going to the states to to defray Medicaid costs, and pay for smoking cessation education? (Insert laughter here)

    How’s that working out for you?

    PS – at the mouth of Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant, SC, in Charleston harbor, is a gorgeous colonial style, wide porch mansion with palmetto landscaping, facing Ft Sumter and the ocean. A friend of mine in the local real estate market tell me that was from “tobacco settlement” money.

Comments are closed.