MD Anderson teams up to implement tobacco-free policies in mental health clinics

October 03, 2014

MD Anderson is extending its cancer prevention efforts by teaming up with anti-tobacco programs run by the University of Houston and Austin Travis County Integral Care (ATCIC). The partnership joins researchers focused on educating mental health providers and tobacco users to eliminate a dangerous addiction.

The Taking Texas Tobacco Free project, modeled after the ATCIC's Tobacco-Free Workplace Program, has identified 19 Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHAs) with hundreds of clinics throughout Texas to become tobacco-free over the next two years. With the first LMHA implementing the tobacco-free program in Waco, Texas on September 1, the program is expected to reach more than 250,000 Texans and serve more than 74,000 tobacco users.

"Smoking rates for people suffering from mental illness are two to four times higher than the general population," said Cho Lam, Ph.D., assistant professor of Health Disparities Research at MD Anderson and project director. "Although this group has a higher cancer mortality rate than the general population of smokers, their smoking status is rarely assessed and smoking-cessation interventions are seldom incorporated into their treatment plan."

Funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, the program will: "This program will educate and train clinic staff on the health hazards of tobacco use and the use of cessation interventions," said Lorraine Reitzel, Ph.D., associate professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Houston and co-director of the project. "We will also provide consultation, policy assistance and treatment resources to help clinic staff and the individuals they serve."

Reitzel says that most tobacco users want to stop; however, people suffering from mental illness may be less likely to achieve abstinence due to a lack of resources or access to health care interventions to help them quit.

"Smoking is the leading risk factor associated with increased mortality among this population," said Lam. With one in five people in the U.S. suffering from mental illness, Lam believes putting resources toward community mental health campuses through the project will increase tobacco-cessation rates and ultimately reduce the prevalence of cancer.

"We have a unique opportunity to expand our program across Texas to help a vulnerable population group," said Bill Wilson, Dr.PH, director of Prevention Services at ATCIC and collaborator on the project. "Ultimately, the policies and interventions implemented with this program will reduce the prevalence of tobacco use and therefore, smoking related conditions, including many types of cancers, and aid in the improved health care of Texans."

Other LMHAs throughout Texas have already set dates to implement the Taking Texas Tobacco Free program in their centers with clear goals to educate, provide screening services and offer treatment interventions to clinic employees, consumers and surrounding communities.

University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to