Original Publication Date: 1 September, 2017
Publication / Source: Pain Management
Authors: Carole A Paley & Mark I Johnson
The treatment and relief of cancer pain represents a challenge to healthcare professionals. Up to 70% of patients with advanced stage cancer suffer from pain for which they receive inadequate pain relief and this in turn leads to impaired physical and psychological wellbeing, resulting in a poorer quality of life . Pain experienced by patients with cancer may be due to pre-existing pathologies, progression of the disease, tumour growth, bone metastases or the treatment of cancer itself. Strong opioids are commonly used to treat cancer-related pain but they may cause undesirable side-effects such as sedation, constipation and nausea which further reduces the quality of life . Consequently, healthcare professionals and patients have sought nonpharmacological treatments to use on their own or in combination with drug therapies to alleviate cancer-related pain.