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Afr J Psychiatry (Johannesbg). 2009 Feb;12(1):64-70.

Psychological and physical effects of pain on cancer patients in Ibadan, Nigeria.

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Department of Psychiatry, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria.



To determine the prevalence of pain and its psychological and physical effects on cancer patients.


We interviewed 210 consecutively admitted cancer patients in the University College Hospital, Ibadan between May 2006 and November, 2006 using the socio-demographic / clinical questionnaire with a section designed to measure psychological and physical symptoms. The screening modules of the depression and anxiety sections of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV diagnosis was used to screen for depression and anxiety.


There were 63 (30%) males and 147 (70%) females. Sixty-eight (32.4%) subjects had breast cancer, 59 (28.1%) had cervical cancer, 40 (19.0%) had colon / rectal cancer while the remaining 43 (20.5%) had prostate cancer. The prevalence of pain was found to be 73.8%. Presence of pain was significantly associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms, suicidal ideation, poor sleep, impaired concentration, lack of opportunity for leisure, dissatisfaction with health, poor overall quality of life, poor ability to get around and the need for extreme amount of medical treatment to function in the daily life.


Pain is common among cancer patients and is associated with significant psychological and physical impairment. Therefore pain should be adequately assessed and managed.

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