2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting:

Cancer Pain Affects the Quality of Life of Asian Patients Significantly

Results of a patient survey on cancer pain, part of the ACHEON (Current PrACtices of CancEr and CHronic NON-cancer Pain Management) study, were presented by Yong-Chul Kim, MD, PhD—Professor, Seoul National University Hospital, South Korea, at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, from May 29–June 2.

Understanding Pain Practices Is Necessary for Practice Improvement
In order to implement more effective policies for cancer pain management, a better understanding of current practices and their effect on patients are needed. The ACHEON study included a survey-based investigation of the impact of cancer pain and its management on patients’ quality of life in 10 Asian countries.

Asian cancer patientQuestionnaire Elicited Patients Attitudes and Perceptions About the Treatment of Their Cancer Pain
Patients experiencing cancer pain were randomly surveyed in 10 Asian countries using a 33-item questionnaire assessing attitudes and perceptions about the management of their pain. Patients age ≥18 years with a documented history of cancer pain in the preceding month were selected.

Though 90% of Patients Were Treated for Pain, 86% Reported Moderate-to-Severe Pain
Of 1190 patients surveyed (median age 53 years; male-to-female ratio 805/385), 1026 reported moderate-to-severe pain of a median of 12-month duration. They attributed their pain to cancer in 53% of cases, to cancer-related therapy in 18%, and to mixed sources in 29%. Ninety percent (n=1056) patients were treated for their cancer pain and only 308 reported receiving opioids.

Cancer Pain Impaired Quality of Life Significantly
Eighty-six percent of patients reported that their pain affected their activities of daily living, 87% their sleep, 92% their concentration and focus, and 67% excessive reliance on others. Only 34% reported a good quality of life.

Cancer Pain Caused Unemployment and Absences from Work
Only 22% of patients were employed, 44% who had been absent from work for >7 days over the prior 3 months due to their cancer pain. Forty-two percent of unemployed patients stopped  working due to their cancer pain.

Asian Cancer Patients Pain Management Must Be Improved
Results of the ACHEON questionnaire showed that cancer pain affects multiple aspects of Asian patients’ quality of life significantly. It is imperative that more effective management practices for cancer pain be developed, an effort that will require a collaborative effort among institutions, social groups, and regulators.

June 30, 2015

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