Pain pp 977-979 | Cite as

Benefit to Burden Ratio in Treating Cancer Pain

  • Jay Rajan
  • Keth Pride
  • Peggy Y. KimEmail author


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.


Benefit to burden ratio Physician assisted suicide Euthanasia Doctrine of double effect 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative CareUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public HealthMadisonUSA

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