Smoking may worsen cancer patients’ pain

Washington: Cancer patients who continue to smoke despite their diagnosis experience greater pain than non-smokers, according to a new study.

Researchers at Texas A&M University found that for a wide range of cancer types and for cancers in stages I to IV, smoking was associated with increased pain severity and the extent to which pain interfered with a patient`s daily routine.

In their cross-sectional study, investigators surveyed 224 patients with a range of cancer diagnoses.

Patients completed self-report measures of pain severity, pain-related distress, and pain-related interference, as well as a demographics questionnaire.

Patients were asked to rate their perceived severity of bodily pain and the degree to which pain interfered with their daily routine.

Current smokers experienced more severe pain than never smokers, and also reported more interference from pain than either never smokers or former smokers.

Among former smokers, there was an inverse relation between pain and the number of years since quitting, suggesting that quitting smoking may reduce pain over time.

The study has been published in the January 2011 issue of Pain.