Psychosocial Interventions Reduce Cancer Pain in Adults

Meta-analysis shows interventions affect both pain severity and pain interference

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- For adults with cancer, psychosocial interventions have a positive effect on pain severity and pain interference, according to a meta-analysis published online Jan. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Sherri Sheinfeld Gorin, Ph.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies published between 1966 and 2010 to investigate the effect of psychosocial interventions on pain in adult patients with cancer. Thirty-seven papers, including 4,199 patients, had sufficient data for meta-analysis. The main outcome measures were pain severity and pain interference.

The investigators found that the weighted averaged effect size for pain severity was 0.34, based on 38 comparisons; the effect size for pain interference was 0.40, based on four comparisons. A significantly larger effect was seen in studies that monitored whether treatment was delivered as intended, compared with those that did not.

"Psychosocial interventions had medium-size effects on both pain severity and interference. These robust findings support the systematic implementation of quality-controlled psychosocial interventions as part of a multimodal approach to the management of pain in patients with cancer," the authors write.

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