A Systematic Review of Health Care Interventions for Pain in Patients With Advanced Cancer

Kathryn A. Martinez, Rebecca A. Aslakson, Renee F. Wilson, Colleen C. Apostol, Oluwakemi A. Fawole, Brandyn D. Lau, Daniela Vollenweider, Eric B. Bass, Sydney M. Dy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: Poorly controlled pain is common in advanced cancer. The objective of this article was to synthesize the evidence on the effectiveness of pain-focused interventions in this population. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane, and DARE from 2000 through December 2011. We included prospective, controlled health care intervention studies in advanced cancer populations, focusing on pain. Results: Nineteen studies met the inclusion criteria; most focused on nurse-led patient-centered interventions. In all, 9 (47%) of the 19 studies found a significant effect on pain. The most common intervention type was patient/caregiver education, in 17 (89%) of 19 studies, 7 of which demonstrated a significant decrease in pain. Conclusions: We found moderate strength of evidence that pain in advanced cancer can be improved using health care interventions, particularly nurse-led patient-centered interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • advanced cancer
  • end of life
  • health care interventions
  • pain
  • quality improvement
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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