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Breakthrough pain a debilitating problem for majority of cancer patients

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

According to a recent study, breakthrough cancer pains - unexpected, temporary flares of severe pain that occur even when pain medication is used - affect approximately 75 percent of adult cancer patients.

The survey, conducted by the American Pain Foundation (APF), included over 500 patients who have been diagnosed with cancer and are currently taking pain medication.

More than half of those surveyed said that they rated their pain an eight, nine or 10 out of 10, with 10 being the worst pain imaginable.

"We're not talking about minor aches and pain," said Will Rowe, APF's chief executive officer. "These severe flares of pain often strike without warning, leaving many people fearful of the next crippling episode and unduly burdening patients and their families."

Researchers also discovered that the majority of cancer patients and survivors visit their healthcare provider more often because of breakthrough cancer pain, leading to increased medical expenses.

Approximately 67 percent of respondents said that they have experienced medical-related financial problems due to cancer pain therapy. More than one-third of study participants are currently carrying debt related to medical care.

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