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Pain assessment

Assessing pain in people with cancer

Melanie Lovell, Ben Forster, Jane Phillips

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Abstract

Cancer pain assessment enables diagnosis of the cause and mechanism of cancer pain and also the impact of the pain on the patient. Sensitive, empathic communication is important for the ongoing relationship between GPs and patients with cancer.

Key Points

  • The most common barriers to good pain management are health professional and patient knowledge deficits, inadequate pain assessment and misconceptions regarding pain.
  • Goals of a comprehensive pain assessment are to determine the cause and mechanism of the pain and the impact of pain on the patient.
  • Allowing patients to express their fears and having these addressed can be therapeutic for patients, relieving both the pain and the associated distress.

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