BUFFALO, NY-Although patients with cancer pain reported lower levels of current pain than did patients with benign or treatmentrelated pain, their pain anxiety levels were higher, Mikki Miner, RN, MS, said in a poster presentation at the 8th World Congress on Pain.
Ms. Miner and her colleagues at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute surveyed 283 outpatients on the Pain Management Service--150 with cancer pain, 40 with treatment-related pain, and 93 with chronic benign pain--using several psychometric scales for pain anxiety.
The cancer pain patients reported lowest present pain and least pain within 24 hours, but had higher scores on the pain anxiety scales than the other two groups.
Interestingly, of the four domains of the Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale (PASS)--fear, cognitive anxiety, escape avoidance, and somatic anxiety--females had higher levels of fear and cognitive anxiety than did men.
The study also showed a temporal pattern to pain anxiety across all three groups: pain anxiety was highest among patients with pain for more than 6 months but less than 1 year.
"Some of these findings are very intuitive," Ms. Miner said. "After 6 months of pain, you become anxious. Certainly, the cancer patients would have more anxiety, and that did hold up in this study. It also makes perfect sense for the other two groups: If you were still in pain 6 months after your trauma or treatment, you would become anxious."
At the end of 1 year if the pain is still present, Ms. Miner speculated that pain anxiety levels drop because patients have either developed other coping skills or the anxiety has changed, maybe into depression. This finding could be helpful in the clinical setting, she noted, since pain and depression are treated differently.