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New Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer: Smokers Opportunity to Quit

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Investigator(s): Jeffrey Bassett, M.D.
Award Cycle: 2011 (Cycle 20) Grant #: 20KT-0059 Award: $269,936
Subject Area: Cancer
Award Type: New Investigator Awards

Initial Award Abstract
The use of tobacco products has been linked to 15 different cancers in the human body. Bladder cancer is actually the second most common cancer that arises from tobacco use. Approximately 6,000 in the state of California get a new diagnosis of bladder cancer every year in California. Smoking is probably responsible for half of these new cancers. There are a number of things we don’t know when it comes to the relationship between bladder cancer and smoking. We do not know how many people with bladder cancer still smoke or what percentage of people with bladder cancer understand the negative effects of continuing to smoke going forward. Lastly, we also do not know how much the doctor who makes the diagnosis of bladder cancer tells the person about the dangers of continuing to smoke, or what help the person with bladder cancer is offered, to help him/her try to quit.

We have some additional thoughts about the relationship between smoking and bladder cancer. We think that there may be differences in what people who are diagnosed with bladder cancer know about the harmful effects of cigarette smoking. We think there may be differences in knowledge and education between those who have stopped smoking prior to being told they have bladder cancer, those who are smoking when they are told they have bladder cancer and continue to smoke, and those who quit smoking around the time when they are told that they have bladder cancer.

We also think there may be differences in what people with bladder cancer know about the dangers of smoking based on other things such as race, ethnicity, the education a person has received, how much money a person makes, or what health insurance they may have. The differences also may have something to do with the doctors. Are some doctors better at telling their new patients with bladder cancer about the dangers of smoking than others? Have some doctors found ways to encourage people with bladder cancer to quit smoking that work better than other ways?

These are some of the questions we would like to answer regarding bladder cancer and smoking. To answer them, we will survey people who have been recently told they have bladder cancer. We will ask the same questions regardless of race, ethnicity, education, income, or employment. By asking the same question we hope to determine if differences exist between people varying by race, ethnicity, income, or education. We are particularly interested in studying the differences between those who keep smoking after they are told they have bladder cancer and those who are able to stop smoking. In comparing these two groups of people, we may be able to come to conclusions as to what are the factors that are the most important in getting people who have bladder cancer and are still smoking, to stop.

Based on what we learn from people with bladder cancer about smoking, and what others have learned about stopping smoking from people with other medical diagnoses, we will put together a plan. This plan will be for both people with bladder cancer and the doctors who treat bladder cancer. The goal of the plan is to help people with bladder cancer stop smoking, and to help doctors know what steps to take in counseling people with bladder cancer, to help them stop smoking. In order to make sure the plan will work, we will have other people who have experience with these types of plans give us their opinions and suggestions on how to make it better. Once we have gotten everyone’s opinion, we will put a final plan together that can be used by people with bladder cancer and by doctors who want to know how to counsel people with bladder cancer, to help them stop smoking.

In asking the questions of those who have already been diagnosed with bladder cancer, determining which factors are most important in the education process, and by designing a plan that will work for both people with bladder cancer and their doctors, we hope to be able to begin the process of improving the lives of those who already have bladder cancer or may get bladder cancer in the future.