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Cancer: Managing the Pain


Wednesday 16th April 2008


A new tool to help health professionals manage pain in cancer patients has been developed by The Institute of Cancer Research and will be launched at the British Pain Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting on April 16.

Developed by The Institute’s Interactive Education Unit in collaboration with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust the CD ROM, ‘Breaking Barriers: management of cancer-related pain’ is designed to assist a range of health professionals when assessing a patient’s need for pain relief due to their cancer or its treatment.

Managing pain is one of the most problematic areas in the treatment of cancer patients. Although it is estimated that around 90 per cent of cancer-related pain can be treated successfully, half of all patients still do not receive adequate pain relief due to a variety of factors.

Problems come from three main areas – firstly attitudes and misconceptions particularly relating to the use of opioids for pain relief held by both the patient and the health practitioner. The second factor is poor communication and finally, lack of knowledge from those managing their care. 

This new CD ROM has ten interlinked sections which cover an overview of the field, the pathophysiology and aetiology of pain, psychosocial factors influencing pain perception, barriers to effective management, how to effectively assess pain, the clinical management of pain and the role of an integrated team with people from all disciplines. It also provides a source of up-to-date references and features interactive patient case studies, videos, animations and a number of resources that can be downloaded for use by health professionals or their patients.

Catherine Dunbar, Manager of the Interactive Education Unit, said: “It is essential that health professionals are given the necessary education and support to enable them to feel confident when managing pain in cancer patients. We believe that our new tool will be a vital resource for the different professionals who help to treat people with cancer.  It aims to help change the way that both professionals and patients think about and treat pain, so everyone will benefit.

“There is a real need for a consistent approach when managing pain in cancer patients and our Breaking Barriers program has been developed to incorporate the very best advice available on this topic.  The more we improve our understanding, the more we can help people living with cancer.”

The CD ROM is available free to health professionals.

To order your copy please call the orderline on 0560 1422921.




For further information contact Louise Brown in the press office at The Institute of Cancer Research: 0207 153 5106 or email [email protected]


Notes to editors:

The development and free distribution of the CD ROM has been made available with a generous donation made in memory of Sarah Roberts.


About The Institute of Cancer Research

The Institute of Cancer Research is Europe’s leading cancer research centre with expert scientists working on cutting edge research. It was founded in 1909 to carry out research into the causes of cancer and to develop new strategies for its prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Website at: .

The Institute is a charity that relies on voluntary income. The Institute is one of the world’s most cost-effective major cancer research organisations with over 90p in every £ directly supporting research.


About the Interactive Education Unit

The award-winning Interactive Education unit (IEU) is part of The Institute’s Academic Services. The IEU promotes and disseminates the educational, clinical and research activities of The Institute in order to improve treatment, care and quality of life for people with cancer. Website at:

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