Pain in head and neck cancer: prevalence and possible predictive factors

J BUON. 2014 Jul-Sep;19(3):592-7.


The purpose of this article was to review the main aspects of pain and its prevalence among head and neck cancer patients, as well as to identify the presence of possible pain predictive factors. For an integrated presentation of this topic a Pubmed database systematic search for relevant published studies was performed. When considering the prevalence of pain in head and neck cancer patients the studies available in this field show great variations in relation to the number of patients included, surgical procedures performed, and established approaches to analgesia. Despite the recognized association between cancer and pain, insufficient attention is paid in the head and neck pain problem, and to date, only few studies in the literature address the diagnosis of head and neck pain or its management. Further efforts are necessary in order to understand the real dimension of this problem in head and neck cancer patients, and therefore to recognize pain predictive factors and/or pain genetic factors aiming (i) to identify those subjects most at risk for pain, and (ii) to tailor, in a near future, 'targeted' analgesic interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Pain, Intractable / drug therapy
  • Pain, Intractable / epidemiology*
  • Pain, Intractable / etiology
  • Prevalence