Inadequate treatment practices for pain relief and adverse event management in cancer patients across 10 countries/regions in Asia: a call for greater efforts to improve standards for patient care
To examine the treatment practices for cancer pain relief and adverse event management, and the factors related to patient outcomes in the participating countries/regions.Methods
The study was a cross-sectional survey conducted between September and December 2013 in 10 countries/regions across Asia. Adult patients with a history of cancer pain at least 1 month before study entry completed the survey questionnaire.Results
A total of 1190 patients were included. The mean Box Scale-11 (BS-11) pain score was 6.0 (SD 2.1), with 86.2% experiencing moderate-to-severe pain and 53.2% receiving opioids at time of the survey. The mean BS-11 scores were 5.3 (SD 2.1) in the “others” (single non-opioid medication or untreated) group, 6.3 (SD 2.0) in the ≥2 non-opioids group and 6.7 (SD 1.9) in the opioid group. The proportions of patients experiencing moderate-to-severe pain were 79.1%, 87.3% and 93.7%, respectively. About 70% of patients reported adverse events due to their pain medications, about half had received medications to manage these symptoms. Adverse events were negatively associated with activities of daily living (P < 0.0001). Pain and hindrance to activities of daily living were negatively associated with employment status (P = 0.003 and 0.021). Unemployment was significantly associated with poorer quality of life (P < 0.0001).Conclusion
This analysis demonstrates inadequate management of cancer pain and treatment-related adverse events in the participating cohort. Pain and inadequate management of adverse events were negatively associated with patients’ overall well-being. More collaborative efforts should be taken to optimize pain treatment and increase awareness of adverse event management in physicians.