A public lecture Monday night at the Halifax Central Library will address the benefits of quitting smoking after a cancer diagnosis.
Dr. Graham Warren's presentation starts at 6 p.m.
The radiation oncologist from the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina is considered an international leader and expert on tobacco cessation within cancer care.
He tells NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show it's common knowledge smoking can increase the odds of developing several types of cancer, but there's not as much discussion about how quitting can improve the effectiveness of cancer treatments and survival rates.
"We know that smoking after a diagnosis actually increases the risk of the cancer coming back or passing away by 50 or 60 per cent, it increases the risk of toxicity from cancer treatment, it increases the risk of getting another cancer," he explains.
"If a person was to quit smoking after a cancer diagnosis, that's the best way we can prevent those things from happening."
Warren says the nicotine addiction is difficult to break, especially when combined with the stress of a cancer diagnosis, and willpower alone may not be enough.
"We know that receiving counselling, assistance to try and quit, medications to try and quit, nicotine replacements, things like that, really help a patient and actually double or triple the opportunities for people to quit smoking altogether," he says.
Warren is in Halifax for the Pan-Canadian Tobacco Cessation in Cancer Care Network meeting, hosted by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.