Cancer Pain Assessment and Management

Cancer Pain Assessment and Management
Cancer Pain Assessment and Management
For cancer patients, pain is the most feared symptom. Pain control and relief is the most
important element for cancer patients’ palliative care. Failure to relieve cancer pain is a major
hindrance and threat to quality of life and insufficient classification and pain assessment would
inevitably lead to impractical and inappropriate cancer pain treatment (Stewart, 2014). Since the
45-year old Portuguese woman cannot speak English, assessing the pain level adequately
becomes a challenge due to the language barrier. However, there are other measure that can be
incorporated in the assessment to produce detailed and accurate results.
Clinical, pathological, psychological, cultural, and social factors characterize cancer pain
(Stewart, 2014). Pain due to cancer affects most aspects of the patient’s life including
performance in daily activities, physical functioning, emotional and psychological status, and
social interactions (Stewart, 2014). The intensity and prevalence of cancer pain is 33-50 percent
for populations undergoing treatment and 64-74 percent for patients with an advanced disease.
Cancer causes pain that has effects on both psychosocial and physical wellbeing, and is
influenced by malignancy (International association for the Study of Pain, 2009). Patients with
more malignant cells suffer more pain compared with patients with less number of malignant
cells. In the assessment, the scale of pain intensity is evaluated from 0-10. Since the patients
cannot speak English, monitoring or questioning the children about her social interactions,
psychological status, and activeness may help determine or assess the pain level. It is appropriate
to use tools of assessment that are valid for the patient’s cognitive abilities, age, and language
needs (International association for the Study of Pain, 2009).
While conducting the physical and history examination, the healthcare practitioner should
consider looking into common cancer pain syndromes. Recording current and past medications
are appropriate, including efficacy and adverse effects. It is recommendable to access for
impairments and the relevance of requiring safety measures (International association for the
Study of Pain, 2009). The incorporation of psychosocial evaluation while conducting the
assessment is crucial, including the determination of patients and their families’ goals of care.
Ordering a diagnostic evaluation such as CT, MRI, and laboratory testing is necessary, but only
when warranted and if it would contribute to the plan for treatment effectively (International
association for the Study of Pain, 2009). The use of pain diaries to follow the therapies’
effectiveness and evaluate pain changes. Pain strongly correlates with fatigue, mood,
constipation, and disturbances. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the presence of other
symptoms. Pain is controlled through measures such as chemotherapy and medication such as
administering opioids and non-opioids analgesics.
International association for the Study of Pain. (2009). Global Year against cancer Pain. IASP-
pain. Retrieved on October 29, 2017 from https://www.iasp-
Stewart, J. (2014). The challenges of cancer pain assessment. The Ulster medical journal, 83(1),

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