Pain and cancer

Pain can be a significant symptom that affects cancer patients.

There many treatments at your disposal to relieve your pain.

There are medical protocols in place to assess and treat your pain.

Research into cancer pain

Many experts declare that nearly 30% of cancer patients do not have access to medication which could help their suffering.

The largest survey, EPIC (European Pain In Cancer), involved 4,824 cancer patients and was carried out in 12 European countries in June 2007.

This study revealed that:
  • 68% of the people have restricted daily routines and 27% are obliged to stop working due to unbearable pain.
  • 62% suffer from moderate to severe pain and 38% of patients declare that their pain is intolerable.
  • 72% believe that their relatives or carers cannot understand them.
  • 26% reported that their doctor does not always ask them about their pain
  • Only 22% receive a sufficient analgesia (opiate).

Information for patients regarding pain relief

  • Patient must be able to access clear and precise information on pain management either from their specialists or GP.
  • There are palliative care teams within hospitals which include medical consultants and nurses who specialise in providing support, pain control and making cancer symptoms as comfortable as possible.

Do not suffer in silence

Nowadays, there are many treatments available to ease your pain.

Do not hesitate to ask for medication to reduce unnecessary suffering.

Doctors often use a scale from 0 (no pain) to 10 (severe pain) to assess the intensity of your pain so that it is easier to quantify and hence treat.

Pain treatment

Pain is treated in a step-wise fashion depending on the severity.
  • Level 1 analgesics: paracetamol +/- non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Level 2 analgesics: weak opioids (codeine based medication)
  • Level 3 analgesics: strong opioids (such as morphine) - morphine can be oral in liquid or tablet form, under the tongue dissolving tablets (fast-acting), or intravenous.
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