Pain characteristics and treatment in an outpatient cancer population

John Peteet, Virginia Tay, Gary Cohen, John Macintyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Thirty of 100 consecutive outpatients at a comprehensive cancer center were assessed by their physicians as having pain due to cancer severe enough to require regular or narcotic medication. These 30 patients and their physicians then were approached with a semistructured questionnaire about pain characteristics and management. Pain severity correlated only with age older than 55 years. Patients tended to rate their pain as more severe than did their physicians, but believed that pain medications generally were effective. Side effects of pain medication and patient fears of dependence on medication appeared to be more important limiting factors in achieving complete pain relief from medication than undermedication by physicians. Both patients and physicians acknowledged a relationship between emotional state and pain, but there was a greater appreciation among patients than physicians of the usefulness of techniques such as relaxation and distraction in pain control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1259-1265
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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