Improvement of pain management in a comprehensive cancer center: a comparison of two cross-sectional studies 8 years apart

Jonas Sørensen, Per Sjøgren, Stine Novrup Clemmensen, Tanja Vibeke Sørensen, Katja Heinecke, Geana Paula Kurita


CONTEXT: In 2011, a multidisciplinary palliative team (MPT) was established at Rigshospitalet (DK) and a cross-sectional study in inpatients was carried out at the Departments of Oncology and Hematology. High symptom burden, high prevalence of pain (64%), and insufficient analgesic treatment were demonstrated. In 2019, a similar study was carried out.

OBJECTIVES: This study compares prevalence of symptoms including pain and analyzes analgesic treatment of adult in-patients in a comprehensive cancer center.

METHODS: Two cross-sectional studies (May-Jun 2011; Feb-Sep 2019).

INCLUSION CRITERIA: malignant diseases, age ≥ 18 y, able to understand Danish. EORTC QLQ-C30 and Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) were applied.

RESULTS: A total of 134 and 183 inpatients were included in 2011 and 2019, respectively. Differences in the two populations were seen; in 2019 more patients had advanced disease (P = 0.0096), lower performance status (P = 0.0028), and a palliative treatment plan (P = 0.0034). The prevalence of impairments and symptoms was high and similar in the 2 years with exception of severe pain (P = 0.0143) and neuropathic pain (P < 0.0001) which increased in 2019. Moreover, pain relief significantly improved, and significantly fewer patients with pain were left untreated. Significant increase in opioid and adjuvant analgesic prescription in 2019.

CONCLUSION: An overall unchanged high symptom burden was observed. However, improvement of pain management was observed in 2019. The establishment of a MPT may possibly have contributed to improved pain management.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSupportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)2037-2045
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms/complications
  • Neuralgia
  • Pain Management
  • Palliative Care
  • Quality of Life


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