Practice guidelines for cancer pain therapy. Issues pertinent to the revision of national guidelines.
The high prevalence of pain in cancer patients has been appreciated for a long time. However, despite release of cancer pain management guidelines by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) in 1994, pain is still undertreated. Recent reports in the literature have identified multiple factors that influence analgesic response and pain management, such as the ethnicity, gender, and age of the patient. Recognition of these factors, and the availability of new drugs, alternative delivery methods, and an enhanced understanding of pain mechanisms and receptor pharmacology compel a revision of the existing cancer pain management guidelines. Assessment and management of pain and other symptoms in cancer patients that influence the quality of survival are increasingly being incorporated into randomized-controlled clinical trials. Strategies should be developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) to develop and implement extant and revised pain management guidelines into clinical practice and test new hypotheses regarding pain management treatments in clinical trials.
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