Great American Smokeout is November 15
Ochsner offers holistic Tobacco Cessation Programs for those wanting to quit
Now in its 43rd year, the Great American Smokeout, hosted by the American Cancer Society on November 15, 2018, can be a great “Day 1” of anyone’s journey toward becoming tobacco-free. According to Lindsey White, Director of the Tobacco Cessation Program at Ochsner Health System, quitting is a process, not a one-time event.
“We know from the research and our experience that it can take a person anywhere from six to 12 attempts before being successful,” she says. “We work with patients individually to determine the best combination of medication, counseling and other support services for each person to hit their quit date. And, these services are free for many Louisianans who want to quit.”
Ochsner’s partnership with the Smoking Cessation Trust offers free counseling and medications for anyone wanting to take steps toward a healthier, tobacco-free lifestyle. All Louisiana residents who started smoking before 1988 are eligible for the free program. To start the journey, smokers can call 504-842-7490 or 1-844-371-5806 to see a certified tobacco cessation specialist. Ochsner offers multiple clinics across its service regions.
Catching Lung Cancer Early
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease in the United States. According to Matthew Gaudet, MD, Thoracic Surgeon at Ochsner Health System, most lung cancers seen in the United States are related to smoking. Men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who have never smoked. Women who smoke are 13 times more likely than those who’ve never smoked.
“Ninety percent of the lung cancers we see are still attributable to smoking,” says Dr. Gaudet. “The big difference is that with diligent screening of those patients at risk, we can identify many lung cancers at Stage I and cure the patients with surgery alone, offering them a longer life expectancy. Screening can show us abnormalities before symptoms begin. By the time symptoms show up, patients typically have a more advanced stage of disease, which is much more serious and difficult to address.”
According to Gaudet, patients who once smoked or who currently smoke should talk to their primary care providers about whether they are suitable candidates for a low-dose CT scan (LDCT, also known as low-dose CAT scan). Low-dose CT scans are more valuable for finding smaller abnormal areas in the lungs earlier than standard chest x-rays. LDCT uses one-fifth of the radiation of a standard chest CT scan and can safely be performed every year.
Cancer prevention and research has been at the forefront of Ochsner’s legacy for more than 75 years. In 1939, Ochsner's founder, Dr. Alton Ochsner, was the first to connect tobacco and lung cancer.
“We know it’s hard to quit smoking. That’s one of the reasons we want to make lung cancer screening for high-risk patients as much a part of their annual health care as a mammogram or a prostate exam. When we catch these cancers before they spread outside the lung,” says Dr. Gaudet. “we can treat many of them with minimally invasive surgery, a short hospital stay, quicker and easier recovery, and no chemotherapy or radiation. That has a profound impact on the patients’ quality of life. We want to reach the point where lung cancer is something people live through. Quitting smoking, routine screening and early detection are the keys.”
Given the high rates of Louisianans who still smoke, and who were once long-term or heavy smokers, this information couldn’t be more relevant. To help address high cancer diagnosis rates in Louisiana and nearby, Ochsner Health President and CEO Warner Thomas has pledged that the system will increase cancer screenings by more than 140,000 new screenings as of 2022.
Anyone wishing to quit smoking can call 504-842-7490 or 1-844-371-5806 to see a certified tobacco cessation specialist. Ochsner offers smoking cessation clinics in all its regions: in Greater New Orleans at Ochsner Medical Centers on Jefferson Highway, in Kenner and on the West Bank; in Baton Rouge; in Hammond; in Raceland in the Bayou region; and on the North Shore in both Slidell and Covington.
About Ochsner Health System
Ochsner Health is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 30 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and more than 80 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across three specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 60 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner employs more than 18,000 employees and over 1,200 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties, and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.