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Cancer pain assessment – Can we predict the need for specialist input?

  • Robin L. Fainsinger
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author: Tel.: +1 780 735 7727; fax: +1 780 735 7302.
    Affiliations
    Division of Palliative Care Medicine, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Grey Nuns Hospital, 217 – Health Services Centre, 1090 Youville Drive West, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6L 5X8
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  • Cheryl L. Nekolaichuk
    Affiliations
    Division of Palliative Care Medicine, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Grey Nuns Hospital, 217 – Health Services Centre, 1090 Youville Drive West, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6L 5X8
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Published:March 25, 2008DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2008.02.038

      Abstract

      We can anticipate that failure to assess cancer pain adequately will inevitably lead to inappropriate application of pain management options. However, it is not always standard practice to teach the limitations of the question ‘How bad is the pain?’, as well as the need to consider what may complicate pain management or be a poor prognostic factor for pain control. These issues may complicate cancer pain assessment and require specialist consultation. An internationally accepted classification system for cancer pain could provide the basis for a multidimensional assessment and a common language for clinical and research work. Research dating back to the late 1980s has resulted in the development of the Edmonton Classification System for Cancer Pain. This includes many of the factors that may be prognostic for the complexity of cancer pain management and can assist an inexperienced clinician in anticipating the need for specialist advice.

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