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Minerva Chirurgica 2000 November;55(11):779-86

language: Italian

Pain therapy in cancer patients

Bertolaccini L., Olivero G.


Around 65-85% of cancer patients suffer from pain at advanced stages. Pain is often inadequately treated, although it can be controlled simply in the majority of cases. It is important to try and achieve a number of targets, including pain control at night, resting pain and pain during movement. Pain can be divided into somatic pain caused by the stimulation of traditional nociceptors, visceral pain and neuropathic pain caused by damaged nervous fibres. All three types may exist in the same patient. Drugs are the main method used to control oncological pain. The three main classes of drugs (FANS, opioid analgesics and adjuvant analgesics) are used individually or in combination. Given that the collateral effects of opioid analgesics may limit their value, they must be monitored to ensure careful treatment. The appropriate use of invasive treatment in patients with advanced disease who do not respond to oral therapy may alleviate cancer pain in 10-30% of cases. These adjuvant procedures are classified as blockades of autonomous nervous tissue, peripheral nerves and neuraxis. In conclusion, the ability to give an overall evaluation of a patient with pain, to ensure the component administration of analgesic drugs and to inform the patient and the family forms the basis of the treatment of pain in cancer.

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