Pain in cancer survivors persists at 2 years post-Dx

February 3, 2011

One-fifth of cancer survivors, including those surviving prostate cancer, have current cancer-related chronic pain at least 2 years after their diagnosis, say researchers at the University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor.

One-fifth of cancer survivors, including those surviving prostate cancer, have current cancer-related chronic pain at least 2 years after their diagnosis, say researchers at the University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor.

A study by the Michigan team, published online in Cancer (Nov. 18, 2010), showed that more than 40% of patients surveyed had experienced pain since their diagnosis, and the pain experience was worse for African-Americans and women.

Adults of ages between 18 and 90 years who had prostate, colorectal, breast, lung cancer, or multiple myeloma at least 2 years to the start of the study were included. Participants were recruited from the Michigan State Cancer Center Registry.

Other findings included:

  • The most significant source of pain was cancer surgery (53.8%) for Caucasians and cancer treatment (46.2%) for African-Americans.
  • Women had increased pain, more pain flares, more disability due to pain, and were more depressed than men because of pain.
  • African-Americans with pain reported higher pain severity, expressed more concern about harmful pain treatment side effects, and had greater pain-related disability.

"All in all, the high prevalence of cancer and pain and now chronic cancer pain among these survivors, especially blacks and women, shows there’s more work to be done in improving the quality of care and research," said lead author Carmen R. Green, MD.