Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chronic Post Cancer Pain-- A Study

     I ran across this article summary on chronic cancer related pain. This study confirms what I have written about here on this blog before. Most of the pain is related to cancer surgery. This news is certainly not very reassuring for me personally. I had completed a course of physical therapy for my post melanoma surgery pain. I was able to take a trip to southeastern Asia in November and did OK. But now the last few weeks, I have been doing more work on my laptop computer, writing and clearing out stuff I no longer want on it, backing up what I do want, etc, and now my arm is bothering me again. The physical therapist I saw before had determined that my ergonomics are not so good for my neck and shoulders and arms when I work on my laptop. So this may be why my arm is flaring up again. I have put back on the "tennis elbow" counter force brace around my lower arm and it helps a little. Is it bad enough to go back for therapy again? I do have a prescription to go back if I need to. I will wait a little bit before I decide to do that. I have reinstituted the exercises that the therapist had shown me. What does all this mean? Well if you read below, it apparently means that I could fall into the 40% of people who still have chronic pain 2 years after surgery. Of course, to keep it in perspective, I am only 8 months from my surgery. We are cancer survivors so I guess we all probably determine that we will have to put up with the pain; we are alive afterall. But what does this say about our cancer treatments and quality of life afterwards? There is certainly room for improvement. I do feel that the medical profession tends to ignore this problem.

Read the following summary of the study. Hit Read More
Pain in cancer survivors persists at 2 years post-Dx

Feb 3, 2011

Urology Times E-News

One-fifth of cancer survivors, including those surviving prostate cancer, have current cancer-related chronic pain at least 2 years after their diagnosis, say researchers at the University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor.

A study by the Michigan team, published online in Cancer (Nov. 18, 2010), showed that more than 40% of patients surveyed had experienced pain since their diagnosis, and the pain experience was worse for African-Americans and women.

Adults of ages between 18 and 90 years who had prostate, colorectal, breast, lung cancer, or multiple myeloma at least 2 years to the start of the study were included. Participants were recruited from the Michigan State Cancer Center Registry.

Other findings included:

The most significant source of pain was cancer surgery (53.8%) for Caucasians and cancer treatment (46.2%) for African-Americans.

Women had increased pain, more pain flares, more disability due to pain, and were more depressed than men because of pain.

African-Americans with pain reported higher pain severity, expressed more concern about harmful pain treatment side effects, and had greater pain-related disability.

"All in all, the high prevalence of cancer and pain and now chronic cancer pain among these survivors, especially blacks and women, shows there’s more work to be done in improving the quality of care and research," said lead author Carmen R. Green, MD.


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