Description and predictors of direct and indirect costs of pain reported by cancer patients

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2003 Jan;25(1):9-18. doi: 10.1016/s0885-3924(02)00597-3.


The purpose of this study was to describe direct and indirect costs associated with pain in cancer patients and to examine potential predictors of these costs. The study surveyed cancer outpatients about direct costs resulting from pain-related hospitalizations, emergency department visits, physician office visits, and use of analgesic medications and indirect costs related to money spent on pain-related transportation, complementary methods to improve pain management, educational materials, over-the counter medication, domestic support, and childcare. Furthermore, the study examined age, marital status, race, income level, pain severity, pain interference, and presence of breakthrough pain as predictors of direct and indirect costs. Three hundred and seventy-three cancer outpatients were sampled. One hundred and forty-four cancer patients (39%) reported experiencing cancer-related pain and completed the study questionnaires. Seventy-six percent (76%) of the patients had experienced at least one pain-related cost, resulting in an average monthly direct cost of US$ 891/month per patient. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of patients had experienced some type of direct medical cost due to pain, resulting in an average total direct pain-related cost of US$ 825/month per patient. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of patients reported incurring at least one indirect pain-related expense for an average indirect cost of US$ 61/month per patient. Higher pain intensity, greater pain interference, and presence of breakthrough pain predicted higher direct and indirect medical expenses. Younger age and lower income level also predicted higher direct medical expenses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Forecasting
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Palliative Care / economics*