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The prevalence of pain in a pediatric and young adult cancer population


Pain 29(1): 73-84
The prevalence of pain in a pediatric and young adult cancer population
The prevalence and nature of pain in the population of children and young adults with malignancy treated by the Pediatric Branch of the National Cancer Institute were assessed over a 6 month period. One hundred and thiry-nine patients were evaluated during 161 in-patient days and 195 out-patient clinic visits. Approximately 50% of the patients assessed in the hospital and 25% of the patients assessed in the out-patient clinic were found to be experiencing some degree of pain at the time of assessment. Therapy-related pain predominated in both in-patients and out-patients; only one-third of the pain experienced by in-patients and less than 20% of the pain experienced by out-patients was due to tumor. Tumor pain was due primarily to bony invasion. In order to control pain in those individuals experiencing pain, narcotic analgesics were being used by one-half of the in-patients and one-third of the out-patients. Overall pain control was good, with the median visual analogue scale score being 26 mm on a 0-100 mm scale. During the study period 7 patients were identified to have chronic pain for greater than 1 year following eradication of all known tumor from the site of pain. One was receiving massive doses of narcotics (120 mg/day of methadone) apparently out of proportion to his underlying pain.

Accession: 006740464

PMID: 3588002

DOI: 10.1016/0304-3959(87)90180-1

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