Differences in Sensory Pain, Expectation, and Satisfaction Reported by Outpatients with Cancer or Sickle Cell Disease

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Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) report pain scores that appear greater than those reported in a meta-analysis for patients with cancer, but statistical comparisons of the pain scores from both populations have not been published.


The goal of the study described here was to compare pain outcomes reported by outpatients with cancer or SCD.


Descriptive comparative study.


Outpatient oncology or sickle cell clinics. Subjects: The participants were outpatients (N = 415) from three studies: (1) 106 patients with SCD, 93% African-American (referent group); (2) 140 patients with cancer, 90% Caucasian (race discordant); (3) 169 patients with cancer, 20% Caucasian, 65% African-American (race concordant).


Patients completed the PAINReportIt including pain location, quality, pattern, intensity, expectation, satisfaction, and demographic questions. Analyses included the χ2 test, analysis of variance, and regression.


Outpatients with SCD reported more pain location sites than the race-discordant (p < .001) and race-concordant (p < .001) cancer groups; higher pain quality than the race-discordant (p < .001) and race-concordant (p < .001) groups; and greater pain pattern scores than the race-discordant (p < .001) and race-concordant (p < .001) groups. The race-concordant group reported higher worst pain intensity than the SCD (p < .001) and race-discordant (p = .002) groups. The three groups did not differ significantly on pain expectation (p = .06). Regarding satisfaction with pain level, there was a significant difference between the race-concordant and SCD (p = .006) groups, but not between the race-discordant and SCD (p = .12) groups or between the race-discordant and race-concordant (p = .49) groups.


Outpatients with SCD reported three of four sensory pain parameters that were greater than those reported by outpatients with cancer. A better understanding of these differences is pertinent to improving pain outcomes.

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