Pain and Pain-Related Distress in Children With Cancer

  • Sharon L. Manne
  • Barbara L. Andersen


Cancer in children is relatively rare, accounting for slightly less than 1 % of the 1 million cases of cancer diagnosed annually in the United States (Silver-berg, Boring, & Squires, 1990). When it occurs, however, it can be fatal. Cancer is the second leading cause of death among individuals 14 years of age or less, and accounts for 10 to 12% of the annual childhood deaths (Silverberg et al., 1990). Although there are cardinal signs and symptoms of cancer in children (Fernbach, 1984), including fever, a tumor mass, pallor, changes in balance, gait, or personality, or changes in the eye, pain is perhaps the most classic sign or symptom. For example, bone pain has been found in 15 to 52% of children presenting with leukemia (Fernbach, 1984; Miser, McCalla, Dothage, Wesley, & Miser, 1987), the most common form of childhood cancer. Pain often accompanies the remaining prevalent sites of disease, including brain tumors (headache), kidney tumors (abdominal pain), and soft tissue disease (a painful mass with rhabdomyosarcoma) (Miser et al., 1987). Thus, it is often the child’s complaint of pain or their parents’ suspicion that the child is in pain, from seeing changes in his/her behavior or affect, that prompts a visit to a physician.


Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Bone Marrow Aspiration Pediatric Cancer Painful Procedure Child Distress 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon L. Manne
  • Barbara L. Andersen

There are no affiliations available

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