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Seeking: People with cancer who smoke

422 people needed to test a new quitting app.

The American Cancer Society's J. Lee Westmaas, senior director of behavioral research, is the co-investigator of a randomized trial for a smartphone application to help people with cancer stop smoking combustible cigarettes, with an overall goal to achieve better outcomes from cancer treatment.

The research study is being conducted by Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in collaboration with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and SCCA Network sites, American Cancer Society, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Our contribution is to help recruit people over the next three years with a recent diagnosis of cancer who currently smoke to join the study.

The study will determine the effectiveness of a smartphone app (Quit2Heal) to help people with cancer quit smoking when compared to an app (NCI QuitGuide) for the general population who smoke. Recruitment will run until May 31, 2023, or when 422 participants have been recruited. Participants will engage in the study for 12 months.

Participants will enroll in the study through a website hosted by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. Eligible participants will be sent a secure link and instructions to download their randomly assigned app (either Quit2Heal or QuitGuide). Staff can direct those they feel might be eligible to the URL above, or they can share the Masterbrand posts about it on local social media. The audience is very specific. Subjects need to be currently in treatment for a cancer and want to quit smoking. 

What do participants receive?

People with cancer who are eligible for the study will get expert guidance and support to help them quit smoking, including:

  • A step-by-step guide to quitting
  • Tools to help deal with urges to smoke
  • Help staying motivated while quitting
  • Being paid up to $210 for completing 3 follow-up surveys and 3 smoking status tests, at 3, 6, and 12 months

What are study participants required to do?

  • Complete a short (3- to 5-minute) survey online to find out if they are eligible to join the study.
  • If eligible, complete another online survey (10 to 15 minutes) sharing demographic information (i.e. gender, ethnicity, and race) and answering questions about their smoking status, cancer status, and experience/comfort with smartphone use.
  • Next, participants will be randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups. Both groups will be provided a quit-smoking smartphone app to help them quit.
  • Complete 3 more surveys (15 to 20 minutes) after 3, 6, and 12 months. Participants can complete the surveys online, by phone, or by mail. 

Participants will be compensated:

  • $25 for completing each survey.
  • $10 bonus by completing each survey within 24 hours of when it’s emailed ($35 total per survey).

Participants may also be randomly selected to take a test to verify their smoking status. A testing device and a video call with the participant would be done. These tests happen during the follow-up surveys at 3, 6, and 12 months. Participants who are selected to take these tests will be compensated $35 for each of the tests.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Age 18 or older
  • Diagnosed with cancer within the past 12 months or currently receiving or planning to receive cancer treatment in next 3 months
  • Smoked a cigarette (even a puff) within the past 30 days
  • Interested in learning skills to quit smoking
  • Willingness to download and utilize either smartphone application (Quit2Heal or QuitGuide)
  •  Live in the U.S. and plan to remain in the U.S. for next 12 months
  • Have daily access to their own smartphone
  • Not currently (within past 30 days) using other smoking cessation interventions

The study hopes to recruit at least 30% men, 12% over the age of 65, and at least 30% minorities as participants.

Note: It’s important to avoid labeling people as “smokers” when discussing the study and in all messaging. Preferred messaging is “person/people who smoke.”

Research has shown that people with a diagnosis of cancer who quit smoking heal better and recover more quickly from cancer treatment. This study will determine the effectiveness of the Quit2Heal app designed specifically to help people with cancer quit smoking versus an app to help the general population quit smoking.


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