Cancer may be associated with many symptoms, but pain is the one most feared by patients. Pain is experienced by one-third of patients receiving treatment for cancer and about two-thirds of those with advanced cancers. To aid in providing quality care and pain relief for cancer patients, Cancer Care Ontario's Cancer-related Pain Management Guideline Panel conducted a systematic review of guidelines to provide evidence-based and consensus recommendations for the management of cancer-related pain to guide the practice of healthcare providers.Methods
Published and unpublished cancer-related pain management guidelines were sought by conducting an Internet search, which included health organizations and the National Guidelines Clearinghouse, the Guideline International Network, and the McMillan Group. Also, MEDLINE searches were conducted for guidelines published between the years 2000 and May 2006.Results
Twenty-five guidelines were found and the quality of each guideline was evaluated using the Appraisal of Guideline Research and Evaluation Instrument and the utility of the guideline for recommendations was assessed. Using these 2 criteria, 8 relevant and high-quality pain guidelines were identified. From these guidelines, the Panel articulated core principles of the management of cancer pain and selected or adapted specific recommendations through consensus to become a part of the cancer-related pain guide for practice.Discussion
The domains on which recommendations were drafted include: assessment of pain; assessors of pain; time and frequency of assessment; components of pain assessment; assessment of pain in special populations; plan of care; pharmacologic intervention; nonpharmacologic intervention; documentation; education; and outcome measures of cancer-pain management.