Unite in the Fight Against Cancer Funding Aids in Tobacco Cessation

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death, in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 60% of adult smokers said that they wanted to quit smoking and had made attempts to quit.  

The Georgia Cancer Center’s Tobacco Cessation Program uses an evidence based two prong approach when it comes to tobacco cessation for patients.  

“We provide our patients with biology support and couple that with behavioral therapy,” April Parham, a patient educator at the GCC said.   

Biology support refers to the different medications that can be used when dealing with a nicotine addiction. While some are able to quit smoking without the use of medications, many struggle and need the extra assistance.  One of the medications that they use is Varenicline, which works by blocking the pleasant effects of nicotine on the brain.  

“It is the first line defense when it comes to tobacco cessation,” says Fonda Nash Doby, the program coordinator for the tobacco cessation program.  

It is also very costly.  

Even with insurance, Varenicline can cost upwards of $300. This steep cost is a barrier for a lot of program participants who cannot afford it.  

April Parham, Doby Fonda, Brit’ney Jackson

Doby and her team, including Parham and Bri’tny Jackson, another patient educator at the GCC, noticed how large of a barrier the cost was and decided to submit their proposal, Improving Varenicline Access for Vulnerable Tobacco Cessation Patients, for funding from Unite in the Fight Against Cancer 2023.  

Unite in the Fight Against Cancer is a one mile walk that celebrates and honors all who have been affected by this disease, while raising funds for patient centered programs. 

Doby’s program received funding from Unite 2023, along with six other programs, all with a focus on patient health and comfort. With this funding, they will be able to provide over 150 patients with Varenicline. 

“The funding makes sure that our patients can participate and feel supported in their journey,” says Jackson.  

If you or someone you love struggles with quitting tobacco, please reach out to stoptobacco@augusta.edu or call 706-721-0456 to make an appointment with the tobacco cessation team.  

If you would like to learn more about this program, follow us on Facebook to be kept up to date on it and the other programs funded by Unite in the Fight Against Cancer. Unite in the Fight Against Cancer will be held on May 4th 2024. You can find more information by visiting our website and Facebook event page. We encourage all to join us in the fight against cancer

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Written by
Lindsey Morris

Lindsey Morris is the Communication Specialist at Georgia Cancer Center. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic at 706-721-9173 or limorris@augusta.edu.

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