Improving cancer pain management through patient and family education

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2003 Apr;25(4):344-56. doi: 10.1016/s0885-3924(02)00685-1.


The purpose of this study was to determine if continued access to information following a baseline pain education program would increase knowledge and positive beliefs about cancer pain management, thus resulting in improved pain control during a 6-month follow-up period. Patients with cancer-related pain and their primary caregivers received a brief pain education program, and were then randomized into one of three information groups: a) usual care, b) pain hot line, and c) weekly provider-initiated follow-up calls for 1 month post-education. Sixty-four patients and their primary caregivers were recruited. Both patients and caregivers showed an improvement in knowledge and beliefs after the baseline pain education program. Continued access to pain information with either the pain hot line or provider-initiated weekly follow-up calls did not affect long-term outcomes of pain intensity, interference because of pain, adequacy of analgesics used, or pain relief. In addition, long-term outcomes did not differ between patients who had improvement and those who showed decline in knowledge and beliefs pre-post education. These findings suggest that a brief pain education program can improve knowledge and beliefs of both patient and primary caregiver. Continued access to pain related information using either a patient- or provider-initiated format did not affect long-term pain outcomes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Family*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Management*
  • Patient Education as Topic*