Prevalence of pain in hospitalized cancer patients in a Nigerian teaching hospital
Keywords:cancer, pain, prevalence, hospitalized
BACKGROUND: Cancer has always been an important cause of pain in medical practice. In a specialized setting such as hospice, palliative care unit and hospital where such patients could receive adequate pain care, as many as 90.0% of cancer patients usually report pain relief. Therefore, the aim of this report is to determine the prevalence of pain in hospitalized cancer patients in our environment
METHODS: This is a cross sectional study involving adult cancer patients, who were hospitalized in surgical wards of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital Zaria, in the month of June, 2009. Patients completed a structured questionnaire regarding the presence or absence of pain, its degree of severity, treatment protocol he/she was currently on. Data obtained was analyzed using SPSS version 11.5.
RESULTS: In the month of June, 2009, a total of 67cancer patients were admitted in both male and female surgical wards. There were 27 (40.3%) males and 40 (59.7%) females. Age range was 17-75years (44.9mean). Fifty eight (86.6%) of the cancer patients admitted having pain as at the time of the study while 9(13.4%) had no pain. Assessment of the form of analgesia commonly used for cancer patients, revealed that 25(37.3%) were on Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), 18(26.9%) were not on any form of analgesia, 17(25.4%) were on weak opioids while 7(10.4%) were on strong opioids.
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of pain in hospitalized cancer patients in our environment is high and NSAIDs are the analgesic agents that are commonly used in them. Analgesia should be dictated and proportional to the intensity of pain in these patients.
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