Patients who survive cancer may have a higher prevalence of chronic pain compared with the general population, according to study results published in Cancer.
The study included data from 115,091 individuals gathered from the National Health Interview Survey (2010-2017). Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) of having chronic pain were assessed using multivariable logistic regression, which included as interaction terms, age (ie, < median age vs ≥ median age) x cancer diagnosis (yes vs no). Multivariable logistic regression was also used to determine the odds of feeling depressed, feeling worried/nervous/anxious, being unable to work, and needing assistance for activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) among cancer survivors.
Having a cancer diagnosis was associated with an increased aOR of having chronic pain compared with the general population (30.8% vs 15.7%, respectively; aOR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.38-1.59).
Older age was associated with increased odds of having chronic pain (P <.001 across all age categories). A positive association was established between older age and chronic pain in participants without — but not in those with — a cancer diagnosis.
In participants with a cancer diagnosis, chronic pain was associated with an increased risk for feeling depressed, feeling worried/nervous/anxious, being unable to work, and needing assistance with ADLs or IADLs (P <.001 for all).
The researchers noted that their chosen cutoff of 2 years to define cancer survivorship may have led to an underestimation of the prevalence of chronic pain in cancer survivors, as the American Society of Clinical Oncology defines cancer survivorship as starting from the day of diagnosis.
“These findings underscore the need to raise awareness regarding the multifaceted pain experience of cancer survivors and to train providers in screening for and managing chronic pain,” noted the study authors.
Sanford NN, Sher DJ, Butler SS, et al. Prevalence of chronic pain among cancer survivors in the United States, 2010-2017. [published online August 22, 2019]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.32450