December 1st 2001
Chronic pain occurs in about one-third of all cancer patients and in about three-quarters of those with advanced disease. A major factor in the undertreatment of cancer pain is inadequate pain assessment. Pain assessment provides the basis for inferred pathophysiology that directs diagnostic evaluation and treatment decisions. Pain syndrome identification plays an important role in this process-much of clinical medicine is based on pattern recognition of symptoms and signs, leading to a specific diagnosis and therapeutic strategy.