Mayo Clin Proc 2015 Oct;90(10):1428-39
Harry J. Duffey Family Palliative Care Program of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD.
Safe, effective, and evidence-based management of cancer-related pain is a cornerstone of comprehensive cancer care. Despite increasing interest in and efforts to improve its management, pain remains poorly controlled in nearly half of all patients with cancer, with little change in the past 20 years. Limited training in pain assessment and management, overestimation of providers' own skills to treat pain, and failure to refer patients to pain specialists can result in suboptimal pain management with devastating effects on quality of life, physical functioning, and increased psychological distress. From a thorough assessment of cancer-related pain to appropriate treatments that may include opiates, adjuvant medications, nerve blocks, and nondrug interventions, this article is intended as a brief overview of the mechanisms and types of pain as well as a review of current, new, and promising approaches to its management.