Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 3 (3), 381-400

Current Aproach to Cancer Pain Management: Availability and Implications of Different Treatment Options

Current Aproach to Cancer Pain Management: Availability and Implications of Different Treatment Options

Hrachya Nersesyan et al. Ther Clin Risk Manag.


Despite tremendous progress in medicine during last couple of decades, cancer still remains the most horrifying diagnosis for anybody due to its almost inevitable futility. According to American Cancer Society Statistics, it is estimated that only in the United States more than half a million people will die from cancer in 2006. For those who survive, probably the most fearsome symptom regardless of cancer type will be the pain. Although most pain specialists and oncologists worldwide are well aware of the importance to adequately treat the pain, it was yet established that more than half of cancer patients have insufficient pain control, and about quarter of them actually die in pain. Therefore, in this review article we attempted to provide the comprehensive information about different options available nowadays for treating cancer pain focusing on most widely used pharmacologic agents, surgical modalities for intractable pain control, their potential for adverse effects, and ways to increase the effectiveness of treatment maximally optimizing analgesic regimen and improving compliance.

Keywords: adjuvant; analgesic ladder; neuromodulation; opioids.


Figure 1
Figure 1
The World Health Organization cancer pain treatment step ladder.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Modified analgesic ladder for the treatment of cancer pain.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 32 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Ahmedzai S. New approaches to pain control in patients with cancer. Eur J Can. 1997;33(Suppl 6):S8–14. - PubMed
    1. Ahmedzai S, Brooks D. Transdermal fentanyl versus sustained-release oral morphine in cancer pain: preference, efficacy, and quality of life. J Pain Symptom Manage. 1997;13:254–61. - PubMed
    1. Alvarez V, Arttamangkul S, Williams JT. A RAVE about opioid withdrawal. Neuron. 2001;32:761–63. - PubMed
    1. [ACS] American Cancer Society. Cancer facts and figures 2002 [online] 2002. Accessed 4 April 2006. URL:
    1. Arnold L, Lu Y, Crofford L, et al. A double-blind, multicenter trial comparing duloxetine with placebo in the treatment of fibromyalgia patients with or without major depressive disorder. Arthritis Rheum. 2004;50:2974–84. - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources