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Ann Intern Med. 1997 Nov 1;127(9):813-6.

Pain and treatment of pain in minority patients with cancer. The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Minority Outpatient Pain Study.

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1
University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Clinics that primarily see members of ethnic minority groups have been found to provide inadequate treatment of cancer-related pain. The extent of undertreatment of pain in these patients and the factors that contribute to undertreatment are not known.

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate the severity of cancer-related pain and the adequacy of prescribed analgesics in minority outpatients with cancer.

DESIGN:

Prospective clinical study.

SETTING:

Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group.

PATIENTS:

281 minority outpatients with recurrent or metastatic cancer.

MEASUREMENTS:

Patients and physicians independently rated severity of pain, pain-related functional impairment, and pain relief obtained by taking analgesic drugs. Analgesic adequacy was determined on the basis of accepted guidelines.

RESULTS:

77% of patients reported disease-related pain or took analgesics; 41% of patients reporting pain had severe pain. Sixty-five percent of minority patients did not receive guideline-recommended analgesic prescriptions compared with 50% of non-minority patients (P < 0.001). Hispanic patients in particular reported less pain relief and had less adequate analgesia.

CONCLUSIONS:

The awareness that minority patients do not receive adequate pain control and that better assessment of pain is needed may improve control of cancer-related pain in this patient population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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