When assessing and treating patients with cancer-related pain, it is important to consider the benefit to burden ratio whenever medical interventions or medications are offered. This will help ensure that every effort made to reduce pain is in line with the goals of care for each patient. As the patient’s disease progresses, goals of care may also change, and the perceived benefit to burden ratio may significantly evolve over time. The prevalence of pain nearly doubles from the early to late stages of cancer, and efforts to eliminate pain and suffering at later stages may not seem compatible with the traditionally perceived principles of medical care or acceptable norms. In these situations, pain physicians should discuss the intended positive outcomes and foreseeable negative outcomes with patients and/or their families to provide a pain management plan that is aligned with the patient’s goals of care.
KeywordsBenefit to burden ratio Physician assisted suicide Euthanasia Doctrine of double effect
- 2.WHO Expert Committee on cancer pain relief and active supportive care. Cancer pain relief and palliative care: report of a WHO expert committee. World Health Organ Tech Rep Ser. 1990;804:1–75.Google Scholar