Access to psychological treatment for chronic cancer-related Pain in Sweden

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Cancer related pain (CRP) is among the most frequent collateral effects of cancer, with chronic CRP, lasting at least three months, affecting >40% of cancer survivors.
Evidence based treatments, including pain-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
(CBT) are available, but it appears that cancer patients/survivors are often poorly
informed about CRP or the potential benefits of CBT for such pain. The present study
examines current experience of Swedish cancer patients/survivors in relation to CRP.
Participants (N= 276; 83% female; mean age = 55.5 years, SD=11.9) were recruited to an online survey via cancer websites in Sweden, and provided information about their history of chronic CRP, and whether they received information about or treatment for CRP from a healthcare professional.
Participants had a history of breast (36%), gynecological (12%), lung (10%), colon
(8%) and other forms of cancer (36%). A majority (74%) reported a history of chronic
CRP and being prescribed analgesic medications (70%). Less than half (47%)
received information from their healthcare provider about the risk of CRP and only 13% with chronic CRP received psychological treatment, and of these only 33% received CBT. Among those receiving psychological treatment for chronic CRP, satisfaction rates were moderate, reported as an average of 6 on a 0-10 scale (SD 2.6).
Greater efforts are needed to raise awareness among cancer patients/survivors, and
healthcare providers about the risk of CRP and evidence-based interventions,
including CBT, the first-line intervention for chronic pain. These efforts will need to be matched with increases in treatment capacity, particularly pain-focused CBT.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Pain
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023 Nov 13

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

Free keywords

  • Cancer
  • Chronic Pain
  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • physiotherapy
  • treatment access


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