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J Cancer Educ. 1998 Summer;13(2):65-70.

Radiotherapy residents' knowledge of and attitudes toward management of cancer pain.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas, MD. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.



To evaluate the fund of knowledge of and attitudes toward cancer pain management of radiotherapy residents across the nation.


Radiotherapy (XRT) residents who had completed at least a year of training were surveyed by questionnaire. Residents (n = 10) from a training program who had been given instructional resources in cancer pain management skills were compared with residents from across the nation (n = 61). A validated survey used in national Cancer Pain Initiative Role Model Programs was administered by mail. The survey contained 30 questions that evaluated attitude alone (A), knowledge alone (K), and how attitude affects the application of knowledge (A/K).


The residents from the training program scored significantly higher in K (p < 0.005) and A/K (p < 0.04) than did the residents across the nation. No difference in scores evaluating A were detected (p = 0.26). Compared with the baseline knowledge of physicians in practice who had attended a workshop on cancer pain management, the national XRT residents had significantly lower scores in A (p < 0.006) and K (p < 0.001); however, no difference was found in A/K scores. After the workshop, the physicians in practice had significant gains in cancer pain management skills (p < 0.006). When the post-instruction survey was compared with the national XRT resident scores, there were marked differences in A (p < 0.00001), K (p < 0.00001) and A/K (p < 0.01).


XRT residents in the United States are empathetic, but knowledge of cancer pain management is lacking. Instruction in the principles of cancer pain management can make a profound difference in knowledge and attitude. There is a need to recognize cancer pain management as a significant aspect of radiotherapeutic practice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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