Pain Management in the Cancer Patient

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Of the over one million patients diagnosed with cancer each year, 30 percent will have pain at diagnosis and up to 85 percent will have pain as their disease progresses. Adequate pain management continues to be hindered by multiple patient-and clinician-related barriers; however, with increased awareness and knowledge, the pharmacy practitioner can play a key role in facilitating pain management. This review will focus on the mechanisms of cancer pain, the role of non-opioids, opioids, and adjuvant agents in the treatment of cancer pain, and the basic principles of cancer pain management that allow 70 to 90 percent of patients to achieve excellent pain control.

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