Freedom From the Pain of Cancer

Guideline-based pain care offers cancer patients more effective relief

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THURSDAY, Oct. 16, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Guideline-based care provides better management and control of cancer pain than the more traditional "as-needed" pain control.

So says a Duke University Medical Center study in the November issue of the American Journal of Managed Care.

Guideline-based pain management involves using a targeted approach to controlling pain through a pre-determined patient treatment plan.

Using a mathematical model, the Duke team concluded that kind of pain management provided effective relief in 80 percent of cancer patients, compared to 30 percent effectiveness for "as needed" pain management by non-specialty health-care providers.

When delivered by oncologists, "as needed" pain management was effective in 55 percent of cancer patients.

The Duke study says guideline-based care costs just a few cents more per month per patient than the "as needed" approach.

"Pain is one of the most commonly feared symptoms of cancer," study senior author Dr. David Matchar, director of the Duke Center for Clinical Health Policy Research, says in a prepared statement.

"Not all health-care providers are equally trained to assess and manage cancer pain. Guidelines can create a level playing field for everyone," Matchar says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about cancer pain control.

SOURCE: Duke University Medical Center, news release, Oct. 15, 2003

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