, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 1175-1183

Predictors of high score patient-reported barriers to controlling cancer pain: a preliminary report

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Abstract

Purpose

Pain is one of the most common and devastating symptoms in cancer patients, and misunderstandings on the patient’s part can cause major obstacles in pain management.

Method

We evaluated factors associated with patient’s high barrier score to managing cancer-associated pain by having 201 patients complete the Korean Barriers Questionnaire II, the Brief Pain Inventory—Korean, the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30, and the Korean Beck Depression Inventory. The Pain Management Index (PMI) was also assessed.

Results

The patients were from nine oncology clinics in university hospitals and a veterans’ hospital in South Korea. The median pain score (0–10 scale) was 4, with a median percentage of pain improvement during the last 24 h of 70 %. A total of 150 patients (75 %) received strong opioids, and 177 (88 %) achieved adequate analgesia (positive PMI). Mean scores ± SD for the Barriers Questionnaire II ranged from 1.5 ± 1 to 2.8 ± 1.1, with the harmful effects subscale the highest. In the multiple regression model, depression was significantly associated with total barrier score to pain management (p < 0.0001). Pain reduction was significantly associated with the fatalism subscale.

Conclusions

Depression was associated with high barrier score in patients with cancer pain. Management of cancer pain should include screening for depression, and management of depression could reduce patient-reported barriers to pain management.