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Burden of cancer pain in developing countries: a narrative literature review

Authors Li Z, Aninditha T, Griene B, Francis J, Renato P, Serrie A, Umareddy I, Boisseau S, Hadjiat Y

Received 23 July 2018

Accepted for publication 3 October 2018

Published 2 November 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 675—691


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Ms Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Dean Smith

Zhang Li,1 Tiara Aninditha,2 Brahim Griene,3 Javier Francis,4 Paulo Renato,5 Alain Serrie,6 Indira Umareddy,7 Sebastien Boisseau,8 Yacine Hadjiat8

1Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China; 2Mangunkusumo Hospital, Jakarta, Indonesia; 3Pierre and Marie Curie Centre, Algerie, Algeria; 4St. Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City, Philippines; 5Anesthesiology Service and Clinical Oncological IOC Group Pain, Brazil; 6Hospital Lariboisiere, Paris, France; 7Kantar Health, Singapore, Singapore; 8Mundipharma Pte Ltd., Singapore, Singapore

Abstract: Cancer pain is one of the most common, feared, debilitating, and often undertreated symptoms among cancer patients. It needs attention since it has a significant impact on the quality of life (QoL) of the patients. Also, since cancer has emerged as a major health problem in developing countries, there is a need to strengthen preventive strategies for effective cancer pain management and provide comfort to cancer patients. Nonetheless, various barriers limit developing countries toward optimal cancer pain management. To bridge the gap between adequate pain management and burden of cancer pain in developing countries, a comprehensive understanding of the limitations faced and the prevalence of cancer pain should be addressed.The aim of this literature review is to provide a deeper understanding on the factors associated with cancer pain as well as barriers toward optimal cancer pain management in developing countries. Some of the barriers addressed were administrative, judicial, economic, and professional barriers. Also, estimates on the prevalence of cancer pain and detrimental effects of pain on the QoL of cancer patients have been addressed. In summary, pain, which is one of the most debilitating symptoms of cancer, remains uncontrolled and undertreated in developing countries. It has a profound impact on the patient’s QoL and can have physical, psychological, and social consequences; therefore, it needs to be managed urgently and appropriately. Most importantly, optimal treatment of cancer pain should be highlighted as a priority in developing countries and concerted efforts should be made to eliminate different barriers discussed in this review for effective and humane care.

Keywords: cancer, pain, health care, economic, quality of life, developing countries

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