Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 821–827 | Cite as

A smoking cessation and pain management program for cancer survivors

  • Kathryn I. PollakEmail author
  • Laura J. Fish
  • Linda M. Sutton
  • Xiaomei Gao
  • Pauline Lyna
  • Lynda Owen
  • Michele L. Patel
  • Tamara J. Somers



Many cancer survivors continue to smoke. Further, most survivors also report high levels of persistent pain and smoke in response to pain. The investigators tested the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a smoking cessation program paired with a pain management program for cancer survivors.


The investigators conducted a two-arm, wait-list randomized controlled pilot study in which they delivered a combined smoking cessation and pain management intervention.


The investigators randomized 30 survivors (14 intervention and 16 wait-list control). Seventy-one percent of the survivors who received the intervention rated it as extremely useful (5 out of 5) in helping them quit smoking. Further, 86% would recommend the program to other survivors. Although we could not conduct inferential statistics, 14% of those in the intervention arm, compared to 6% in the control condition had biochemically validated cessation at 2-months post-randomization. Survivors in the intervention also reported less pain, had improvements in depressive symptoms, and better physical function than those in the control arm.


Our pilot data suggest the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of this approach. The next step is to conduct a large randomized controlled trial to fully test the efficacy of the intervention.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

A combined smoking cessation and pain program might help improve both issues simultaneously.


Cancer Oncology Pain Smoking cessation Survivors 


Funding information

This study was funded by Duke Cancer Institute.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethics approval

This study was approved by the IRB at Duke University School of Medicine. Approval no. Pro00060925.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn I. Pollak
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Laura J. Fish
    • 1
    • 3
  • Linda M. Sutton
    • 4
    • 5
  • Xiaomei Gao
    • 1
  • Pauline Lyna
    • 1
  • Lynda Owen
    • 4
  • Michele L. Patel
    • 6
  • Tamara J. Somers
    • 1
    • 7
  1. 1.Cancer Control and Population SciencesDuke Cancer InstituteDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Population Health SciencesDuke School of MedicineDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Department of MedicineDuke School of MedicineDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Duke Cancer NetworkDuke Cancer InstituteDurhamUSA
  5. 5.Department of Psychology and NeuroscienceDuke School of MedicineDurhamUSA
  6. 6.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesDuke School of MedicineDurhamUSA
  7. 7.Faculty Practice in Psychiatry Erwin SquareDuke School of MedicineDurhamUSA

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