The awareness of patients with non - muscle invasive bladder cancer regarding the importance of smoking cessation and their access to smoking cessation programs
ABSTRACT Objectives Smoking is the most important risk factor for bladder cancer and smoking cessation is associated with reduced risk of tumor recurrence and progression. The aim of this study is to assess the awareness of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) patients regarding the importance of smoking cessation, determine their access to smoking cessation programs and the effects of smoking cessation on recurrence rates of NMIBC. Materials and Methods NMIBC patients who were followed with cystoscopy were included in the study. Their demographic properties were recorded, along with their smoking habits, awareness regarding the effects of smoking on bladder cancer and previous attempts for smoking cessation. Moreover, the patients were asked whether they applied for a smoking cessation program. Recurrence of bladder cancer during the follow-up period was also noted. Results A total of 187 patients were included in the study. The mean age was 64.68±12.05 (range: 15-90) and the male to female ratio was 167/20. At the time of diagnosis, 114 patients (61.0%) were active smokers, 35 patients (18.7%) were ex-smokers and 38 patients (20.3%) had never smoked before. After the diagnosis, 83.3% of the actively smoking patients were advised to quit smoking and 57.9% of them quit smoking. At the time of the study, 46.52% of the NMIBC patients were aware of the link between smoking and bladder cancer, whereas only 4.1% of the smoking patients were referred to smoking cessation programs. After a mean follow-up of 32.28±11.42 months, 84 patients (44.91%) had recurrence; however, current smoking status or awareness of the causative role of smoking on NMIBC did not affect the recurrence. Conclusion In our study group, the majority of the NMIBC patients were not aware of the association between smoking and bladder cancer. Although most of the physicians advised patients to quit smoking, a significant amount of the patients were still active smokers during follow-up. Only a small proportion of patients were referred to smoking cessation programs. Urologists should take a more active role in the battle against smoking and refer those patients to smoking cessation programs. Larger study populations with longer follow-up periods are needed to better demonstrate the beneficial effects of smoking cessation on recurrence rates.