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Cancer patients who smoke experience significantly more pain

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Individuals who have received positive cancer tests may now have another reason to quit their tobacco habits. A new study from Texas A&M researchers has found that cigarettes lead to worse pain among cancer patients.

For the study, researchers surveyed a group of 224 patients who were being treated for a variety of cancers. They were asked questions about how severe their pain was and the degree to which pain impacted their daily lives.

The researchers found that cancer patients who smoked reported much more severe pain than non-smokers. Additionally, smokers were more likely to say that their pain reduced their quality of life by preventing them from doing the things that they would like to do.

Following a cancer diagnosis, many individuals feel that there is little left to lose, and quitting smoking may make little difference in their life. However, the new findings suggest that continuing to use tobacco may prevent cancer patients from making the most of their remaining years.

"Although more research is needed to understand the mechanisms that relate nicotine to pain, physicians should aggressively promote smoking cessation among cancer patients," said Lori Bastien, who wrote an editorial accompanying the report, which was published in the journal Pain.

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