Pain in clinical oncology: Patient satisfaction with management of cancer pain

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Abstract

Background:

Despite effective analgesic therapy, inadequate pain control is frequently perceived by patients and caregivers.

Aims:

To assess satisfaction with management of pain in cancer patients.

Methods:

Between January and May 2007, a cross-sectional multicentre study was conducted in 64 Medical Oncology Departments throughout Spain. A total of 525 outpatients with oncological diseases completed a questionnaire with demographic data, characteristics and intensity of pain, and perceptions and attitudes towards pain management at the time of a routine clinical visit. Physicians also completed a questionnaire with tumour-related and treatment-related data. Cluster analysis was used to classify patients into three groups (satisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied or neutral, dissatisfied) according to pain intensity and satisfaction with treatment.

Results:

Patients satisfied with their analgesic treatment (33%) had lower pain intensities and, when regularly asked about their pain, considered their physicians to be more involved in their treatment. Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied patients (neutral) (44%) had higher mean pain intensities. Two-thirds of them achieved marked relief of their pain and also thought that physicians were aware of their situation. Dissatisfied patients (23%) had moderate to severe pain intensities, and said that they were asked less frequently about their pain, and thought that their physicians were less involved in their analgesic treatment.

Conclusion:

Physician–patient communication and information provided to patients are essential aspects of patient perceptions and attitudes towards control of cancer-related pain. Pain is seen as a condition that may be controlled but affects the capacity to lead a normal life.

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