Smoking After Cancer Diagnosis Worsens Quality of Life

Smoking linked with worse mental quality of life in lung and colorectal patient-caregiver dyads

MONDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Caregiver mental quality of life (QoL) is worse in lung and colorectal patient-caregiver dyads in which one member of the dyad smokes, according to a study published in the February issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Kathryn E. Weaver, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues examined associations between patient-caregiver smoking concordance, caregiver psychological adjustment, and caregiver and patient mental and physical QoL. The study included 742 lung and colorectal patient-caregiver dyads that were participants of the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance (CanCORS) and CanCORS Caregiver studies. Cancer patients were mostly males with local or regional disease, and their caregivers were mostly females younger than 65 years old who were often their spouses.

The investigators found that caregivers reported worse mental health QoL when they were part of a dyad in which one or both members continued to smoke after lung and colorectal cancer, compared to caregivers in nonsmoking dyads. Colorectal cancer patients who continued to smoke while their caregiver did not had worse mental health QoL than cancer patients in nonsmoking dyads. Physical QoL of both patients and caregivers was less strongly associated with smoking.

"This is the first study to show associations between cancer patient-caregiver smoking status and QoL for both dyad members. Future studies will need to confirm these associations longitudinally and investigate potential mechanisms linking dyad smoking and QoL," the authors write.

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