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01-01-2016 | Cancer pain | Article

7. Fundamentals of Cancer Pain Management

Authors: MD Thomas J. Smith, Joe O’Neil

Publisher: Springer International Publishing


Pain is the most common and most feared symptom among cancer patients. At least 75 % of cancer patients will have significant pain, and the pain usually increases as the disease progresses and the end of life nears. While fatigue may be more common, and delirium and dyspnea near the end of life may be more bothersome to caregivers [1], pain is a common denominator in all of our conversations with cancer patients and their families. A meta-analysis of the prevalence of pain in cancer patients calculated rates of 33 % in patients after curative treatment, 59 % in patients undergoing cancer treatment, 64 % in patients with advanced/metastatic/terminal cancer, and an overall rate of 53 % [2].

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