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Fox Chase Cancer Center Researcher Receives $2.8 Million Grant for Smoking Cessation Research

PHILADELPHIA (June 7, 2002) -- Robert A. Schnoll, PhD, associate member in the Population Sciences Division at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has received a $2.8 million five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to initiate a smoking cessation study for cancer patients diagnosed with head and neck cancers . The study will examine the use of an antidepressant in the smoking cessation program.

"Twenty to 35 percent of head and neck cancer patients continue to smoke after their diagnosis," explains Schnoll. "Head and neck cancer patients who continue to smoke after their cancer diagnosis have shorter survival, increase the chance of their cancer recurring, and have adverse treatment-related complications. In addition, patients who smoke don't receive the full benefits from treatment."

Symptoms of depression are quite common among cancer patients. Previous studies have shown that patients who demonstrate depressive symptoms are less likely to quit smoking. Schnoll says it may be particularly important that patients experiencing depression be given an antidepressant in addition to nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation counseling.

"It will be beneficial to identify those patients with and without depressive symptoms and match them with optimal treatments," explains Schnoll. "An optimal treatment for patients with depressive symptoms may include an antidepressant in addition to counseling and nicotine replacement therapy. Patients who are not depressed may achieve cessation with nicotine replacement therapy and counseling alone."

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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