LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 2, 2023) — Timothy Mullett, M.D., a University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center surgeon and the medical director of the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate and Research Networks, participated in a White House forum June 1 focused on expanding equitable access to smoking cessation programs.
Mullett, who also serves as chair of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer (CoC), was invited to speak at the Washington, D.C. forum for medical and advocacy leaders. The event was part of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, which includes efforts to reduce the burden of preventable cancers, including tobacco-related cancers.
“Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in the country, killing more people than prostate, breast, and colon cancers combined,” Mullett said. “Despite improved education on the dangers of smoking, we know that smoking remains one of the largest risk factors for developing lung cancer. If we can help provide effective and practical smoking cessation programs to more Americans, we can greatly reduce deaths from lung cancer.”
Most adults who smoke cigarettes report wanting to quit, but fewer than one in ten succeed in quitting each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking cessation programs provide people with practical and individualized ways to quit smoking, including counseling and access to medications such as nicotine replacement therapies. Using evidence-based approaches, these programs can increase the chances of effective intervention.
At the White House forum, Mullett was among a group of leaders who provided real-world guidance on ways to help reduce the incidence of lung cancer by identifying barriers and increasing access to smoking cessation programs.
“I’m grateful that smoking cessation is an essential part of the Cancer Moonshot discussion because it is essential that we raise awareness about this issue,” Mullett said. “All of us physicians need to be having more frank conversations with our patients about smoking cessation. It can not only reduce the risk of getting cancer, but it can also reduce the risk of dying from other smoking-related illnesses that may occur during or after cancer treatment.”
Through his work at Markey Cancer Center and the ACS, Mullett spearheads research on improving the quality of cancer care through CoC accreditation and leads cancer prevention efforts, including in Kentucky, which has one the highest rates of lung cancer. Mullett serves as co-principal investigator of the Kentucky LEADS (Lung Cancer Education Awareness Detection Survivorship) Collaborative, which is housed at Markey.
To learn more facts about lung cancer and preventive screening efforts, visit facs.org/lung.
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