Patient-related barriers to management of cancer pain

Pain. 1993 Mar;52(3):319-24. doi: 10.1016/0304-3959(93)90165-l.


Patients' reluctance to report pain and to use analgesics are considered major barriers to pain management. To explore this problem, 270 patients with cancer completed a 27-item self-report questionnaire (BQ) that assessed the extent to which they have concerns about reporting pain and using pain medication. The 8 specific concerns included fear of addiction, beliefs that 'good' patients do not complain about pain, and concern about side effects. Patients also completed a measure of pain severity and pain interference (the BPI). The percentages of patients having concerns assessed by the BQ ranged from 37% to 85%. Those who were older, less educated, or had lower incomes were more likely to have concerns. Higher levels of concern were correlated with higher levels of pain. Based on their reports of pain medications used in the past week and on their reports of pain severity, patients were categorized as under-medicated versus adequately medicated. Those who were under-medicated reported significantly higher levels of concern. The data are discussed in terms of implications for research and practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / adverse effects
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Palliative Care*
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Analgesics