Cancer Doctors Not Good At Pain Management, Study Suggests
Many U.S. cancer doctors failed to choose the correct pain treatment options in a test, according to a follow up study of a 1990 survey of oncologists.
"These data suggest that for more than 20 years, a focus on cancer pain has not adequately addressed the perception of treatment barriers or limitations in pain-related knowledge and practice within the oncology community," study author Brenda Breuer wrote, as reported by Reuters.
Approximately 600 oncologists who were sent surveys on how they handled cancer pain responded rated themselves on their pain treatment education and ability to manage pain, Reuters reports. The survey also asked the doctors what to do with a patient who was being treated but was still experiencing pain.
The doctors rated their own ability to manage pain as a seven out of ten on average, with their education rating as "okay at best," according to Reuters.
Sixty percent of doctors answered the first pain management question wrong and 87 percent failed the other question, Reuters reports.
"I think the takeaway message is to know that there are specialists in pain medicine and palliative care medicine," Breuer told Reuters. "They (patients) should not be afraid to request consults for managing pain."