Aim: The assessment of pain intensity variation in hospitalized cancer patients during their medical care. Material and methods: A numerical pain scale (0 to 10) was administered to 100 randomly selected patients to score their pain intensity, during their admission and before their discharge time. The target group included patients suffering from lung, breast and large intestine cancer while being treated in a general hospital medical oncology department. The questionnaires were completed in November 2008.
Results: In the scale of 0: “no pain at all” to 10: “unbearable pain”, the patients who completed it (n=98), reported an average 2,18 pain intensity during their admission time and 1,94 (p=0,218) just before their discharge from hospital. Despite the low pain intensity scored by patients, 23 (23,5%) patients described their pain during hospitalization as deteriorated, while a percentage of 9 (9,2%) patients referred their pain as stable (score >0). There was no statistically significant change in pain intensity in relation to age (<65, 65+), reason of submission (chemotherapy or side effects/symptoms coping) and cancer type (lung, breast and large intestine). During their discharge from hospital, the patients stated that their pain was managed satisfactorily by doctors and nurses (94,1% and 96,9% respectively).
Conclusion: The intensity of pain seems not to be correlated with patient’s age, type of cancer and reason of submission, to this general hospital’s oncology department. Despite pain’s satisfactory management by doctors and nurses, there are cases where pain level deteriorates requiring individualized assessment for every patient.
Keywords: Pain, cancer patient, medical care.