Nine years after diagnosis, 9.3% of US cancer survivors were current smokers and 83% of these individuals were daily smokers who averaged 14.7 cigarettes per day, according to a report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

In the study, researchers at the American Cancer Society analyzed data on 2,938 patients nine years after their diagnoses. Smoking prevalence by cancer type:

  • bladder cancer (17.2%)
  • lung cancer (14.9%)
  • ovarian cancer (11.6%)
  • melanoma (7.6%)
  • kidney cancer (7.3%)
  • colorectal cancer (6.8%)

Survivors were more likely to smoke if they were younger, had less education and income, or drank more alcohol.

About 40% of smokers said they planned to quit within the next month, but this intention was lower among survivors who were married, older, or smoked more.

“We need to follow up with cancer survivors long after their diagnoses to see whether they are still smoking and offer appropriate counseling, interventions, and possible medications to help them quit,” said Lee Westmaas, PhD, director of tobacco research at the American Cancer Society and lead author of the study. “We need to do more to intervene with these patients.”