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Papers: 8 Jan 2022 - 14 Jan 2022

2021 Dec 30

J Clin Med



Lifestyle and Pain following Cancer: State-of-the-Art and Future Directions.


Lahousse A, Roose E, Leysen L, Yilmaz S T, Mostaqim K, Reis F, Rheel E, Beckwée D, Nijs J
J Clin Med. 2021 Dec 30; 11(1).
PMID: 35011937.


This review discusses chronic pain, multiple modifiable lifestyle factors, such as stress, insomnia, diet, obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity, and the relationship between these lifestyle factors and pain after cancer. Chronic pain is known to be a common consequence of cancer treatments, which considerably impacts cancer survivors' quality of life when it remains untreated. Improvements in lifestyle behaviour are known to reduce mortality, comorbid conditions (i.e., cardiovascular diseases, other cancer, and recurrence) and cancer-related side-effects (i.e., fatigue and psychological issues). An inadequate stress response plays an important role in dysregulating the body's autonomic, endocrine, and immune responses, creating a problematic back loop with pain. Next, given the high vulnerability of cancer survivors to insomnia, addressing and treating those sleep problems should be another target in pain management due to its capacity to increase hyperalgesia. Furthermore, adherence to a healthy diet holds great anti-inflammatory potential for relieving pain after cancer. Additionally, a healthy diet might go hand in hand with weight reduction in the case of obesity. Consuming alcohol and smoking have an acute analgesic effect in the short-term, with evidence lacking in the long-term. However, this acute effect is outweighed by other harms on cancer survivors' general health. Last, informing patients about the benefits of an active lifestyle and reducing a sedentary lifestyle after cancer treatment must be emphasised when considering the proven benefits of physical activity in this population. A multimodal approach addressing all relevant lifestyle factors together seems appropriate for managing comorbid conditions, side-effects, and chronic pain after cancer. Further research is needed to evaluate whether modifiable lifestyle factors have a beneficial influence on chronic pain among cancer survivors.