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Cancer Nurs. 2001 Oct;24(5):378-86.

Pain management strategies used by patients with breast and gynecologic cancer with postoperative pain.

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University of Iowa College of Nursing, Iowa City 52242-1121, USA.


Many people with cancer will experience pain when they are outside of structured care settings. Patients must provide their own self-care, drawing on instructions from healthcare providers and on independently developed plans for pain management. With growing interest in complementary therapies, the scope of nonpharmacologic interventions used by patients with cancer to manage pain may be very different than 10-15 years ago. The purpose of this study was to describe steps taken by patients with breast and gynecologic cancer to manage pain after discharge from a surgical hospitalization. A secondary analysis was completed using data from 34 women who participated in a randomized trial of guided imagery. Techniques used included positioning, distraction, relaxation, heat, and eating/drinking. Compared to results of previous studies, increased use of relaxation strategies (breathing, imagery, music, meditation) was noted in the current study. The majority of participants used nonpharmacologic strategies in addition to analgesic medications. Pain-related outcomes were similar among persons who used analgesic medications alone and those who used a combination of analgesics and nonpharmacologic strategies. Nurses may benefit from knowing which pain management strategies patients find helpful so that they can encourage their use and teach similar strategies to the patients who find them useful.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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