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Cancer pain control in a Nigerian oncology clinic: treating the disease and not the patient
Journal – The Pan African Medical Journal
Article type – Journal research article – Clinical research
Publication date – Dec – 2021
Authors – Adedayo Olufemi Joseph, Omolola Salako, Adewunmi Alabi, Muhammadu Habeebu, Onyinye Balogun, Olubukola Ayodele, Opeyemi Mercy Awofeso, Adeniyi Adenipekun
Keywords – (Low-to-middle-income country) LMICs, Cancer care, Nigeria, Treatment
Open access – Yes
Speciality – Surgical oncology
World region Western Africa
Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on December 18, 2021 at 7:12 am
Introduction: inadequate pain control negatively impacts the quality of life of patients with cancer while potentially affecting the outcome. Proper pain evaluation and management are therefore considered an important treatment goal. This study assessed the prevalence of pain, the prescribing patterns, and the efficacy of pain control measures in cancer patients at the Radiation Oncology Unit of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos.
Methods: this was a longitudinal study design recruiting adults attending outpatient clinics. Participants were assessed at initial contact and again following six weeks using the Universal Pain Assessment Tool developed by the UCLA Department of Anaesthesiology.
Results: among the patients reviewed, 34.0% (118 of 347) were at the clinic, referred for initial assessment following primary diagnosis. All respondents had solid tumours; the most common was breast cancer. The prevalence of pain at initial assessment was 85.9% (298 of 347), with over half of respondents, 74.5% (222 of 347) characterising their pain as moderate to severe. Over a quarter, 28.9% (100 of 347) of patients were not asked about their pain by attending physicians, and none of the patients had a pain assessment tool used during evaluation. In 14.4% (43 of 298) of patients, no intervention was received despite the presence of pain. At six weeks review, 31.5% (94 of 298) of patients had obtained no pain relief despite instituted measures.
Conclusion: under-treatment of cancer pain remains a significant weak link in cancer care in (Low-to-middle-income country) LMICs like Nigeria, with a significant contributor being physician under-evaluation and under-treatment of pain. To ensure pain eradication, the treatment process must begin with a thorough evaluation of the patient’s pain, an explicit pain control goal and regular reevaluation
OSI Number – 21404