The biopsychosocial model in cancer pain

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Purpose of review

The purpose of this review is to provide the reader with an up-to-date overview on the biopsychosocial model in cancer pain.

Recent findings

This review contains articles published from 2012 to 2014, which advance our understanding of biopsychosocial factors related to the cancer pain experience and psychosocial treatment for cancer pain. Greater depression, anxiety, and distress, and lower quality of life are related to greater pain intensity in cancer patients. Recent publications have expanded on this research by examining how psychosocial factors relate to the development of chronic pain conditions after cancer treatment. Recent publications have also advanced our understanding of psychosocial interventions for cancer pain and symptom management. In the last few years, several reviews have emerged, which have found modest effect sizes for psychosocial interventions in cancer pain management.


The biopsychosocial model is a helpful way to comprehensively approach the conceptualization and treatment of pain in cancer patients at all stages of the disease process. We currently have an established base of research on the importance of biopsychosocial model in cancer pain. Our ability to treat patients with cancer pain effectively will improve as we gain a better understanding of which treatments work for which patients.

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