A comparison of pain and health-related quality of life between two groups of cancer patients with differing average levels of pain

J Clin Nurs. 2003 Sep;12(5):726-35. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2702.2003.00777.x.


A study was performed to describe and compare pain and Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) in two groups of cancer patients in palliative care as well as to describe the correlation between pain and HRQOL. Forty-seven patients with mild average pain [Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) </= 3] and 28 patients with moderate to severe average pain (VAS > 3) were included. Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (SF-36) was used to evaluate HRQOL, pain intensity levels were measured with the VAS on Pain-O-Meter. Compared to patients with mild pain, patients with moderate to severe pain had statistically significant, higher pain intensity for the items 'pain at time of interview', 'worst pain in the past 24 hours' and 'pain interrupting sleep.' They also had the lowest scores of the SF-36 dimensions: physical functioning, role-physical, and bodily pain. Patients with moderate to severe pain had statistically significant, fewer months of survival. There were statistically significant positive correlations between pain items and negative correlation between pain and SF-36 dimensions. The conclusion is that pain has a negative impact on HRQOL, especially on physical health and that pain increases towards the final stages of life. Even if patients have to endure symptoms such as fatigue and anxiety during their short survival time, dealing with pain is an unnecessary burden, which can be prevented.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pain / complications*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Palliative Care
  • Patients / psychology
  • Quality of Life* / psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sweden