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Natalie Moryl, Nessa Coyle, Samuel Essandoh and Paul Glare

The problem of pain in cancer survivors is attracting increased attention. Although comprehensive information about the prevalence of persistent pain in the cancer survivor population is currently lacking, it is known to depend on the type of cancer, comorbid conditions, and the initial pain management. Epidemiologic studies generally categorize pain in patients with cancer as either pain directly caused by the neoplastic process or related phenomena, pain occurring as a complication of anticancer treatment, or pain unrelated to the neoplastic process, caused by debility or concurrent disorders. This article focuses on pain syndromes in cancer survivors and the safe use of opioid therapy in this population when its ongoing use is part of the pain management plan. The use of physical therapy, rehabilitation therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, which are all extremely important aspects of pain management in the cancer survivor, are briefly mentioned.

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Robert A. Swarm, Amy Pickar Abernethy, Doralina L. Anghelescu, Costantino Benedetti, Sorin Buga, Charles Cleeland, Oscar A. deLeon-Casasola, June G. Eilers, Betty Ferrell, Mark Green, Nora A. Janjan, Mihir M. Kamdar, Michael H. Levy, Maureen Lynch, Rachel M. McDowell, Natalie Moryl, Suzanne A. Nesbit, Judith A. Paice, Michael W. Rabow, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Sharon M. Weinstein, Mary Dwyer and Rashmi Kumar

Pain is a common symptom associated with cancer and its treatment. Pain management is an important aspect of oncologic care, and unrelieved pain significantly comprises overall quality of life. These NCCN Guidelines list the principles of management and acknowledge the range of complex decisions faced in the management oncologic pain. In addition to pain assessment techniques, these guidelines provide principles of use, dosing, management of adverse effects, and safe handling procedures of pharmacologic therapies and discuss a multidisciplinary approach for the management of cancer pain.

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Robert Swarm, Amy Pickar Abernethy, Doralina L. Anghelescu, Costantino Benedetti, Craig D. Blinderman, Barry Boston, Charles Cleeland, Nessa Coyle, Oscar A. deLeon-Casasola, June G. Eilers, Betty Ferrell, Nora A. Janjan, Sloan Beth Karver, Michael H. Levy, Maureen Lynch, Natalie Moryl, Barbara A. Murphy, Suzanne A. Nesbit, Linda Oakes, Eugenie A. Obbens, Judith A. Paice, Michael W. Rabow, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan Urba and Sharon M. Weinstein

Overview Pain, defined as “a sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage,”1 is one of the most common symptoms associated with cancer. Cancer pain or cancer-related pain is distinct from pain experienced by patients without malignancies. Pain occurs in approximately one quarter of patients with newly diagnosed malignancies, one third of patients undergoing treatment, and three quarters of patients with advanced disease,2–4 and is one of the symptoms patients fear most. Unrelieved pain denies patients comfort and greatly affects their activities, motivation, interactions with family and friends, and overall quality of life. The importance of relieving pain and availability of effective therapies make it imperative that physicians and nurses caring for these patients be adept at the assessment and treatment of cancer pain.5–7 This requires familiarity with the pathogenesis of cancer pain; pain assessment techniques; common barriers to the delivery of appropriate analgesia; and pertinent pharmacologic, anesthetic, neurosurgical, and behavioral approaches to the treatment of cancer pain. The most widely accepted algorithm for the treatment of cancer pain was developed by the WHO.8,9 It suggests that patients with pain be started on acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). If this is not sufficient, patients should be escalated to a weak opioid, such as codeine, and then to a strong opioid, such as morphine. Although this algorithm has served as an excellent teaching tool, the management of cancer pain is considerably more complex than this 3-tiered “cancer pain ladder”...
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Robert A. Swarm, Judith A. Paice, Doralina L. Anghelescu, Madhuri Are, Justine Yang Bruce, Sorin Buga, Marcin Chwistek, Charles Cleeland, David Craig, Ellin Gafford, Heather Greenlee, Eric Hansen, Arif H. Kamal, Mihir M. Kamdar, Susan LeGrand, Sean Mackey, M. Rachel McDowell, Natalie Moryl, Lisle M. Nabell, Suzanne Nesbit, BCPS, Nina O’Connor, Michael W. Rabow, Elizabeth Rickerson, Rebecca Shatsky, Jill Sindt, Susan G. Urba, Jeanie M. Youngwerth, Lydia J. Hammond and Lisa A. Gurski

In recent years, the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Adult Cancer Pain have undergone substantial revisions focusing on the appropriate and safe prescription of opioid analgesics, optimization of nonopioid analgesics and adjuvant medications, and integration of nonpharmacologic methods of cancer pain management. This selection highlights some of these changes, covering topics on management of adult cancer pain including pharmacologic interventions, nonpharmacologic interventions, and treatment of specific cancer pain syndromes. The complete version of the NCCN Guidelines for Adult Cancer Pain addresses additional aspects of this topic, including pathophysiologic classification of cancer pain syndromes, comprehensive pain assessment, management of pain crisis, ongoing care for cancer pain, pain in cancer survivors, and specialty consultations.