Adult Cancer Pain: Part 2 -- The Latest Guidelines for Pain Management

Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS


December 06, 2010

In This Article

Editor's note

This is the second in a 2-part article describing the changes to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's (NCCN) updated 2010 guidelines on the management of adult cancer pain. Part 1 covers Assessment of Pain in Patients With Cancer, and Part 2 covers Management of Pain in Patients With Cancer.

Although not universal, pain is a common feature of many cancers. Pain in patients who have cancer is not limited to the end of life, or to those with advanced disease, but can be experienced by patients with many different types of cancer, at many different stages, and stems from many different sources. A new population of patients with cancer -- those who can expect long-term survival -- may be taking pain medication for life as the result of serious pain issues associated with cancer treatments.[1]

The NCCN Guidelines for Adult Cancer Pain, Version 2010

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recently updated its Adult Cancer Pain guidelines.[2] The multidisciplinary NCCN guidelines combine evidence and expert medical judgment. These guidelines are intended to provide practical, usable assistance to clinicians who assess and manage cancer pain. The guidelines are not text-heavy, but are organized in quick-reference algorithm format.

Some of the changes to the new guidelines, abbreviated here as NCCN v.2010, are minor, but others are significant, and all are important for pain and oncology professionals. I recently had the opportunity to review the changes to NCCN v. 2010 with one of the panel of experts who authored the guidelines and its revisions, Judith Paice, PhD, RN, Director of the Cancer Pain Program at Northwestern University; Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois.


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