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Cancer pain in elderly patient

Author(s): D. Cova | A. Ubbiali | P. Rossi | M. Cannone | T. Paradiso

Journal: Pathos : Trimestrale di Algologia
ISSN 1593-2354

Volume: 14;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: Cancer pain | Elderly patient | Drugs | WHO

The incidence of cancer is strongly increased in elderly due to various reasons, as for example the prolonged exposure to cancer agents.The 30-40 percent of the patients presents pain of moderate/severe intensity already at the moment of the diagnosis; unfortunately this percentage tends to increase with the progress of the disease, until reaching the nearly totality of patients in the state of advanced disease. Many studies have demonstrated that the pain, frequently underestimated and undertreated, causes also disability and can even compromise the effectiveness of the anti-cancer treatment. For an adequate treatment, it is necessary to take into account that cancer pain has a progressive time course; nociceptive pain may become neuropathic pain, and it is joined to more and more important emotional components. The pharmacological approach is faced with a sequence of drugs according to the "three steps scale drug" proposed from the WHO.
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