(HealthDay News) — Cancer survivors have a high prevalence of chronic pain, according to a research letter published online in JAMA Oncology.

Changchuan Jiang, MD, MPH, from Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City, and colleagues examined the prevalence of chronic pain among 4526 adult cancer survivors identified from 59,770 participants in the 2016 to 2017 National Health Interview Survey of the civilian, noninstitutionalized US population.

The researchers found that 1658 (34.6%) of the cancer survivors reported having chronic pain and 768 (16.1%) reported high-impact chronic pain (HIPC), defined as chronic pain limiting life or work activities on most days or every day in the previous 6 months. These figures represent about 5.39 and 2.51 million cancer survivors, respectively, in the United States. The prevalence of chronic pain and HIPC were higher for survivors with less than a high school education (adjusted prevalence, 39.2 and 18.5%, respectively), low household income (44.6 and 22.8%, respectively), public insurance (43.6 and 27.1%, respectively), or no paid employment (38.5 and 20.4%, respectively). The adjusted prevalence of chronic pain was highest among survivors of cancer of the bone (54.0%), kidney (52.3%), throat-pharynx (47.9%), and uterus (44.5%).

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“The prevalence of chronic pain and HICP is high among cancer survivors compared with that in the general US population, thereby suggesting the presence of important unmet needs in the large and growing cancer survivorship community,” the authors write.


Jiang C, Wang, Wang Q, et al. Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain in Cancer Survivors in the United States. JAMA Oncol. Published online June 20, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.1439