Dr. Alexander Prokhorov Video (Text Version)
Alexander Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D.; M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program Clinical Trial Award
With the DoD funding, as a part of a larger lung cancer initiative, we've developed a prototype video game that is aimed at adolescents and young adults that teaches them about dangers of smoking - motivates those who don't want to quit and helps those who are interested in quitting but don't know how to do that. Unfortunately, if you look at the statistics, our military smoke at much higher rates than civilians. You can see that the Army service members are at the highest rates for smoking and the smokeless tobacco rates are also very high. Same for Marines. A little bit less in the Navy and Air Force. And if you look at the younger service members, you can see that the highest rates are seen in the Army. It's close to 50 percent according to the survey results. And then goes lower in the Marines, Navy and Air Force. And this is the older military folks who smoke at lower rates. But this is among men; if you look at among women the rates are a little bit lower than among men but still quite high and certainly higher than among civilian women. And also if you look by rank, the lowest ranking military smoke at the highest rates, unfortunately. So that's what we tried to do, we tried to find ways on how to reach this audience and how to convince them not to smoke- not to use tobacco. So this video game is basically a kiosk, which looks like an arcade type video game. The game is called "Escape with Your Life" and the metaphor is a scary hospital and you have to escape from that scary hospital. In the process of escaping you explore different rooms and learn about different aspects of tobacco and health issues as well as other issues. So it's tailored to their age, gender, ethnicity, and their smoking status. They have a guide who is helping them going through the different rooms in the hospital. And as you can see here they go through waste disposal, where they learn about what's in the tobacco smoke. Lots of people don't realize how much very bad substances they inhale. They go through places like radiology. They can see some pretty graphic pictures of lung cancer and other diseases associated with tobacco. They even go through a surgery. Here is the actual lung resection operation performed on a person who is 49 years old and who has been smoking since 12 and got lung cancer. And, we're showing this operation. Our users rated this room highest, the best. So it's very rich in content and very sophisticated theory-based tailored video game that helps people adopt a tobacco-free lifestyle. This is a prototype. This is going to be used to build a much more interesting, a richer content game, and eventually once the game is fully built and pre-tested, it will be tested in a randomized trial at Fort Hood with 2,000 service members there. In addition, we're going to build some modules in the game that would help smokers to seek assistance from the local tobacco cessation specialist who works at Fort Hood. So, we hope that the flow of people to this specialist would be much higher after they get exposure to the video game. And this individual would prescribe medications if necessary - somebody suffers of strong nicotine dependence and withdraw symptoms; they will be able to receive these medications. The CDMRP funding will help us learn a lot about this very important population. It's the first large study, to our knowledge at least, that would help us to learn more about the factors that lead to smoking initiation among new recruits and help those who smoke quit successfully.