Future Research

As this chapter highlights much remains to be learned about pain and pain treatment among cancer survivors. Some areas that seem promising include the following:

a. Descriptive epidemiology of the different kinds of pain syndromes, both treatment- and non-treatment-related, in cancer survivors. This will require the design of large scale surveys specifically designed for comprehensive pain assessment.156

b. Continued research into the classification and characterization of pain syndromes which affect cancer survivors, including identification of new pain syndromes that may emerge with new approaches to cancer.

c. Understanding the meaning of these syndromes to survivors, in the setting of other pain syndromes, and how these may affect their responses to survey questions.

d. Understanding of the pathophysiology underlying pain syndromes in cancer survivors, and their relationship to other symptoms, such as fatigue and depression.

e. Adequately powered RCTs of interventions in pain management in survivors of different cancers with longer term follow-up. These could include coping strategies for uncertainty caused by the presence of pain, and pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions.

f. Encourage ongoing research on prevention of iatrogenic pain syndromes.

g. Research directed at understanding how pain affects the daily lives of cancer survivors (e.g., work) and how survivors cope with pain over time.

h. Education of both patients and health care providers about pain, and inclusion of pain management as an element of survivorship planning.

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