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Assessment of pain and quality of life in cancer patients

14 December 2022

Performing an accurate pain assessment in cancer patients is a prerequisite for determining appropriate analgesic management. Pain assessment should include a proper estimation of pain intensity, as well as the identification of the type of pain from the point of view of the pathomechanism: receptor (nociceptive) pain and neuropathic pain. In addition, it is also important to assess the type of pain, from the point of view of the temporal pattern: persistent pain and transient pain. It should be emphasised that it is essential not only to establish the cause, type and intensity of physical pain, but also to assess the psychological, social and spiritual problems of the patient and family. Inadequate pain assessment leads to ineffective pain treatment and thus contributes to unnecessary suffering for the patient and, indirectly, the family. Similarly, the assessment of quality of life is an essential element, complementing the objective assessment of the clinical condition of patients in palliative care with the subjective evaluation of their own situation by patients. The concept of quality of life is multidimensional, hence the need for tools that take into account the relevant dimensions of patients' quality of life: symptoms of disease and adverse effects of treatment, physical functioning, role functioning, emotional functioning, social functioning and the spiritual dimension of the patient's life. This article attempts to summarise basic information regarding the assessment of pain in cancer patients, including the more commonly used pain assessment scales and tools. It also discusses the most common quality of life concepts and tools for assessing quality of life in cancer patients