The dangers of smoking are well-known, and when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, one of the doctor’s recommendations is to stop smoking. Now, research supports this mandate, suggesting that cancer patients who continue to smoke experience greater pains than those who don’t smoke.

The study, which will be published in the January 2011 journal issue of Pain, surveyed 224 cancer patients. They were asked to rate their distress from pain, the severity of pain, and how pain interfered with their daily lives. Researchers found that smokers experienced more severe pain than non-smokers and ex-smokers. In addition, cancer patients who smoked also reported more interference from pain than non-smokers as well.

An inverse relationship existed between pain and the number of years since a participant had quit smoking. The longer the sobriety from cigarettes, the less pain a cancer patient had.

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