Smokers who refuse to quit the habit despite being diagnosed with lung cancer experience higher levels of pain from the disease than non-smokers and former smokers, reveals study.
Researchers at Duke University surveyed some 900 lung cancer patients and classified 17 percent of them as persistent smokers.
The aim of the study was to assess the relationship of smoking status after a diagnosis of lung cancer with ratings of usual pain.
Several studies have examined the effects of continued smoking after a lung cancer diagnosis and found that it impairs healing, lowers efficacy of cancer treatments, hampers overall quality of life, increases risk for recurrence and secondary tumors, and decreases survival.
The results of the new study showed that patients who continued to smoke after diagnosis reported higher levels of pain and other lung cancer complications, such as shortness of breath and fatigue, than non smokers and former smokers.
The researchers concluded that pain coping skills training should be included in smoking cessation protocols for lung cancer patients who have not stopped smoking.
The study appears in The Journal of Pain.