FREQUENCY OF CANCER PAIN


Virtually all cancer patients suffer from pain at some stage of their disease, and therefore pain treatment is of considerable importance for cancer patients.

35-45% of patients experience pain at an early stage. Around 70% of patients are in pain when their disease is advanced. Almost all terminal patients are in pain.1

Pain constantly reminds them of their, in many cases, incurable disease. In addition to the trouble and torment directly caused by pain, its constant reminder often leads to increased despair.

 

Cancer location

Patients with pain

Bones

85-100%

Buccal cavity

60-80%

Breast

35-65%

Lungs

45-85%

Stomach 

60-75%

Colon, rectum 

50-95% 

Prostate 

40-75% 

Lymphoma

15-20% 

 

A large meta-analysis of studies that were published in the past 40 years found that pain was present in 53% of patients with the disease at any stage, 59% of patients receiving anti-cancer treatment, and 33% of patients after curative treatment.

The meta-analysis also found that more than one-third of all of the patients with cancer pain graded it as moderate or severe. The prevalence of pain reported by patients varied with the type of cancer, from 70% of patients with head or neck cancer, 60% of patients with gynaecological cancer, 59% with gastrointestinal cancer, 55% patients with lung or bronchus cancer, 54% with breast cancer and 52% of patients with urogenital cancer.2

 

References
1 Cancer Facts & Figures 2011: American Cancer Society. Available at http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@epidemiologysurveilance/documents/document/acspc-029771.pdf (last accessed 2015, December)
2 Van den Beuken-van Everdingen MHJ et al. Prevalence of pain in patients with cancer: A systematic review of the past 40 years. Ann Oncol. 2007;18:1437-49.