Pain management needs clinical overhaul

Many oncologists lack evidence-based knowledge on how best to manage pain, says a Sydney palliative care researcher who wants more education on the topic.

Dr Melanie Lovell (pictured) who lectures at the Sydney Medical School on cancer pain management, says: “About 40% of cancer patients have inadequate pain relief, and we know the frequency of pain increases with the progress of the disease.”

The  problem is exacerbated by a “postcode lottery”, where access to good quality pain management services can depend on whether there are specialist cancer services near the patients’ home.

Dr Lovell is optimistic a new grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation will help fund the national rollout of a screening tool to assess and manage cancer pain.

The project will include the development of a self-management guide