Adult Cancer-Related Pain

  • Timothy P. PearmanEmail author
  • Liesbeth Tryzelaar
  • Eytan Szmuilowicz


Although prevalence estimates vary widely, pain is widespread among those with cancer and is often undertreated. Cancer-related pain has a multitude of causes, courses, and treatments. Opioid treatment, prescribed with caution, continues to be the mainstay of cancer-related pain management. As with all pain, psychological factors play an important role in cancer-related pain, with emotional distress, cognitive coping strategies like catastrophizing, and pain-related behaviors shown as important predictors of pain severity. Because of this, psychological and behavioral treatments reduce cancer pain burden. Barriers to effective pain management include psychological barriers, such as a fear of opioid addiction, social variables, such as discriminatory patterns of prescribing, and cultural variables, such as a cultural emphasis on stoicism in the face of pain. With advanced cancer, pain management may move to the forefront of patient care. Palliative care programs reduce the undertreatment of cancer-related pain and are proven to increase patient quality of life while reducing healthcare costs at the end of life. The future of cancer treatment requires a greater multidisciplinary and multispecialty focus on the treatment of pain.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy P. Pearman
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Liesbeth Tryzelaar
    • 3
    • 4
  • Eytan Szmuilowicz
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Departments of Medical Social Sciences and Psychiatry & Behavioral SciencesNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Supportive OncologyRobert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer CenterChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of MedicineNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care ProgramNorthwestern MedicineChicagoUSA

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