Post-operative Smoking Status in Lung and Head and Neck Cancer Patients: Association with Depressive Symptomatology, Pain, and Fatigue

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tobacco use, quality of life, head and neck cancer, lung cancer

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Objective: An estimated 35–50% of lung and head and neck cancer patients are smoking at diagnosis; most try to quit; however, a substantial proportion resumes smoking. As cancer treatments improve, attention to the effects of continued smoking on quality of life in the survivorship period is increasing. The current study examines if smoking abstinence following surgical treatment is associated with better quality of life.

Methods: Participants were 134 patients with head and neck or lung cancer who received surgical treatment. Smoking status and indices of quality of life (depressive symptoms, fatigue, and pain) were assessed at the time of surgery (baseline) and at 2, 4, 6, and 12 months post-surgery. Analyses were performed using a generalized estimating equations approach. A series of models examined the correlation between smoking status and post-surgery quality of life while adjusting for demographics, clinical variables, and baseline smoking status and quality of life.

Results: Continuous post-surgery abstinence was associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms and fatigue; however, the relationship with fatigue became nonsignificant after adjusting for baseline fatigue and income. There was no significant relationship observed between smoking status and pain.

Conclusions: Findings add to a growing literature showing that smoking cessation is not associated with detrimental effects on quality of life and may have beneficial effects, particularly with regard to depressive symptoms. Such information can be used to motivate smoking cessation and continued abstinence among cancer patients and increase provider comfort in recommending cessation. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Psycho-Oncology, v. 24, issue 9, p. 1012-1019