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Ann Oncol. 2009 Aug;20(8):1420-33. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdp001. Epub 2009 Feb 24.

Cancer-related pain: a pan-European survey of prevalence, treatment, and patient attitudes.

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Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo and Department of Anaesthesiology, Rikshospitalet University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



The European Pain in Cancer survey sought to increase understanding of cancer-related pain and treatment across Europe.


Patients with all stages of cancer participated in a two-phase telephone survey conducted in 11 European countries and Israel in 2006-2007. The survey screened for patients experiencing pain at least weekly, then randomly selected adult patients with pain of at least moderate intensity occurring several times per week for the last month completed a detailed attitudinal questionnaire.


Of 5084 adult patients contacted, 56% suffered moderate-to-severe pain at least monthly. Of 573 patients randomly selected for the second survey phase, 77% were receiving prescription-only analgesics, with 41% taking strong opioids either alone or with other drugs for cancer-related pain. Of those prescribed analgesics, 63% experienced breakthrough pain. In all, 69% reported pain-related difficulties with everyday activities; however, 50% believed that their quality of life was not considered a priority in their overall care by their health care professional.


Across Europe and Israel, treatment of cancer pain is suboptimal. Pain and pain relief should be considered integral to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer; management guidelines should be revised to improve pain control in patients with cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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