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J Pain Symptom Manage. 1994 Aug;9(6):372-82.

Prevalence and pattern of symptoms in patients with cancer pain: a prospective evaluation of 1635 cancer patients referred to a pain clinic.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Operative Intensive Care, University of Cologne, Germany.


In a prospective study, the prevalence of 15 physical symptoms and symptom groups was evaluated in 1635 cancer patients referred to a pain clinic. In addition to pain, patients suffered an average of 3.3 symptoms: insomnia (59%), anorexia (48%), constipation (33%), sweating (28%), nausea (27%), dyspnea (24%), dysphagia (20%), neuropsychiatric symptoms (20%), vomiting (20%), urinary symptoms (14%), dyspepsia (11%), paresis (10%), diarrhea (6%), pruritus (6%), and dermatological symptoms (3%). While symptom prevalence was influenced by tumor site, pain intensity, and opioid treatment, only a minor relationship was seen between symptoms and gender, age, or tumor stage. The data emphasize that it is not sufficient to simply address pain during the treatment of patients with cancer pain; a more global approach to symptom management is necessary.

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