Tailoring cognitive-behavioral treatment for cancer pain.


Journal Article

Though it has been shown that cancer patients report cognitive, behavioral, and physiologic responses to pain, little attention has been paid to the benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) protocols tailored to patient characteristics. To determine whether a profile-tailored CBT treatment program was more effective than either standard CBT or usual care in changing outcomes for patients with cancer-related pain, 131 patients receiving treatment at four sites were randomly assigned to standard CBT, profile-tailored CBT, or usual care. CBT patients attended five 50-minute treatment sessions. When compared to standard CBT patients, profile-tailored CBT patients experienced substantial improvement from baseline to immediately post-intervention in worst pain, least pain, less interference of pain with sleep, and less confusion. From baseline to one-month post-intervention, profile-tailored patients saw greater improvement in less interference of pain with activities, walking, relationships, and sleep; less composite pain interference; and less mobility and confusion symptom distress. Standard CBT and usual care patients experienced little change. Compared to profile-tailored CBT patients, standard CBT patients showed greater improvement at six-months post-intervention with less average pain, less pain now, better bowel patterns, lower summary symptom distress, better mental quality of life, and greater improvement in Karnofsky performance status; usual care patients showed little change. More research is needed to refine the matching of cognitive-behavioral treatments to psychophysiologic patient profiles, and to determine a treatment period that does not burden those patients too fatigued to participate in a five-week program. Delivery of CBT by home visits, phone, or Internet needs to be explored further.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dalton, JA; Keefe, FJ; Carlson, J; Youngblood, R

Published Date

  • March 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 5 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 3 - 18

PubMed ID

  • 14999649

Pubmed Central ID

  • 14999649

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1524-9042

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s1524-9042(03)00027-4


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States