Treatment of pain in pediatric oncology: a Swedish nationwide survey


Treatment of pain in pediatric oncology: a Swedish nationwide survey


Ljungman G; Kreuger A; Gordh T; Berg T; Sorensen S; Rawal N






Child; Female; infant; Male; Pain Measurement; Education; Questionnaires; Sweden; Combined Modality Therapy; Education; Preschool; Non-U.S. Gov't; infant; Newborn; Human; Nursing; Support; Adolescence; Neoplasms/complications; continuing; Medical; Drug Administration Routes; Physician's Practice Patterns; Antineoplastic Agents/adverse effects; continuing; Hospital Departments; Morphine/adverse effects; Pain/etiology/therapy; Radiotherapy/adverse effects


Pain treatment is a crucial aspect in the care of children with cancer and there are many studies demonstrating inefficient pain treatment. In this study, questionnaires dealing with pain treatment of children with malignant diseases were sent to all (47) pediatric departments in Sweden. The aims of this nationwide survey were to evaluate the extent and causes of pain, the use of methods for pain evaluation (e.g. analysis of type of pain and monitoring of pain intensity), principles of pain management, side effects of pain treatment and the educational needs of physicians and nurses regarding these issues. The response rate was 100%. Answers from physicians and nurses reveal that pain is a common symptom during different periods of cancer treatment. Pain due to treatment and procedures is a greater problem than pain due to the malignant disease itself. Instruments for the measurement of pain intensity and analysis of the type of pain are still rarely used. Most physicians (63%) follow the analgesic 'ladder' principle recommended by World Health Organization (WHO). According to a majority of physicians and nurses (72%), pain could be treated more effectively than it is presently, and 64% state that they need more time for the management of pain. Both physicians and nurses state that they need additional education in different areas of pain evaluation and pain treatment. Swedish treatment practices for the management of pediatric cancer pain roughly follow the published guidelines, but many improvements are still necessary.


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Ljungman G; Kreuger A; Gordh T; Berg T; Sorensen S; Rawal N, “Treatment of pain in pediatric oncology: a Swedish nationwide survey,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed July 18, 2024,