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Oncologist. 2011;16(12):1784-92. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0169. Epub 2011 Dec 1.

The effect of cigarette smoking on cancer treatment-related side effects.

Author information

1
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14642, USA. luke_peppone@urmc.rochester.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cigarette smoking has long been implicated in cancer development and survival. However, few studies have investigated the impact of smoking on symptom burden in cancer survivors during treatment and at survivorship stage. This study examines the influence of cigarette smoking on side effects among 947 cancer patients during and 6 months following treatment.

METHODS:

Patients diagnosed with cancer and scheduled to receive chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy reported on current smoking status (yes, no) and total symptom burden [the sum of 12 common symptoms (fatigue, hair loss, memory, nausea, depression, sleep, pain, concentration, hot flashes, weight loss, skin problems, and dyspnea) scored on an 11-point scale ranging from 0 = "not present" to 10 = "as bad as you can imagine"] during treatment and at 6-month follow-up. The adjusted mean total symptom burden by smoking status was determined by analysis of covariance controlling for age, gender, race, education, occupation, treatment, cancer site, and Karnofsky performance score.

RESULTS:

During treatment, smokers (S) had a significantly higher total symptom burden than nonsmokers (NS) (S = 46.3 vs. NS = 41.2; p < 0.05). At 6-month follow-up, smokers continued to report a higher total symptom burden than nonsmokers (S = 27.7 vs. NS = 21.9; p < 0.05). Participants who quit smoking before treatment levels had a total symptom burden similar to nonsmokers.

CONCLUSION:

Smoking was associated with an increased symptom burden during and following treatments for cancer. Targeted cessation efforts for smokers to decrease symptom burden may limit the likelihood of treatment interruptions and increase quality of life following treatment.

PMID:
22135122
PMCID:
PMC3248778
DOI:
10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0169
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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