Pain in elderly hospitalized cancer patients with bone metastases in Norway

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2008 May;14(5):238-45. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2008.14.5.29491.


Aim: To examine differences in reported pain, pain management and satisfaction with pain management between middle-aged and elderly patients. The study also examined differences in global quality of life (QoL) and pain interference with patient function between middle-aged and elderly patients with bone metastases.

Method: A one-day prevalence study was performed, targeting hospitalized cancer patients 18 years and over in Norwegian hospitals; 79 patients with bone metastases were included.

Results: In total, 89% of patients reported daily pain, and there was no significant difference between the two age groups (p=0.52). Elderly patients reported significantly higher scores for 'worst pain' (p=0.036) and 'pain severity intensity' (p=0.027), but received strong opioids for their cancer pain significantly less often than middle-aged patients (p=0.024). We found a significant linear association between increasing age and decreasing scores on Cleeland's pain management index (p=0.002). There were no statistically significant differences between age groups in satisfaction with pain management, pain interference with functioning or global QoL.

Conclusion: These results indicate that more focus is needed on pain management in elderly cancer patients with bone metastases.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / complications
  • Bone Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Prevalence