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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2010 Jul;40(1):49-59. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.12.013.

A randomized controlled trial of a standardized educational intervention for patients with cancer pain.

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Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich, New South Wales, Australia.



Published literature has not defined the effectiveness of standardized educational tools that can be self-administered in the general oncology population with pain.


We sought to determine if an educational intervention consisting of a video and/or booklet for adults with cancer pain could improve knowledge and attitudes about cancer pain management, pain levels, pain interference, anxiety, quality of life, and analgesic use.


Eligible participants had advanced cancer, a pain score >/=2 of 10 in the last week, English proficiency, an estimated prognosis of more than one month, and were receiving outpatient cancer treatment at participating hospitals. Participants completed baseline assessments and then were randomly allocated to receive a booklet, a video, both, or neither, in addition to standard care. Outcome measures at two and four weeks included the Barriers Questionnaire (BQ), Brief Pain Inventory, Global Quality of Life Scale, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Adequacy of analgesia and severity of pain were assessed with the Pain Management Index and a daily pain diary.


One hundred fifty-eight participants were recruited from 21 sites over 42 months. Baseline mean barriers scores were lower than reported in previous Australian studies at 1.33 (standard deviation: 0.92). Mean average pain and worst pain scores improved significantly in patients receiving both the video and booklet by 1.17 (standard error [SE]: 0.51, P=0.02) and 1.12 (SE: 0.57, P=0.05), respectively, on a 0-10 scale. The addiction subscale of the BQ score was improved by 0.44 (SE: 0.19) for participants receiving any part of the intervention (P=0.03).


Provision of a video and/or booklet for people with cancer pain was a feasible and effective adjunct to the management of cancer pain.

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