Pain and Distress in Cancer Patients

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Background: A significant number of patients with cancer suffer from anxiety and depressive disorder. Perceived emotional distress, anxiety and depressive symptoms are significantly more frequent in cancer patients with pain than in patients without pain. Despite their high prevalence cancer pain and distress are frequently undertreated.

Material and method: Thirty two oncology patients were included in the study who were receiving concurrent oncologic and pain treatment in the Oncology Clinic TgMures. Patient demographic and clinical information was obtained from medical records and patient report. Patients were screened for pain scores using the Visual Analog Scale and distress scores, using the Distress Thermometer.

Results: The gender proportion of the sample is: 38% female, 62% male. More than 75% of the sample was over 50 years of age, and more than half of the patients (59.3%) had metastatic disease. Significant decreasing trend were seen for pain score difference before and after the pain treatment was reassessed (dosage increase or conversion) (p<0.0001), and decreasing trend seen for distress score (p<0.0001) also.

Conclusions: Pain and distress occurred concomitant in this population. An adequate pain management and pain reassessment contributes to improve the cancer patient emotional distress score, anxiety and depressive symptoms. An accurate screening instrument can facilitate the recognition of patients who needs further assessment and psychiatric treatment.

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Acta Medica Marisiensis

The Journal of The University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Targu-Mures

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