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

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


To assess satisfaction with management of pain in cancer patients.


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.


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.


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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