More Than 5 Million Cancer Survivors Experience Chronic Pain, Twice the Rate of the General Population
More than 5 million cancer survivors in the United States experience chronic pain, almost twice the rate in the general population, according to a study published by Mount Sinai researchers in JAMA Oncology in June.
Researchers used the National Health Interview Survey, a large national representative dataset from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to estimate the prevalence of chronic pain among cancer survivors. They found that about 35 percent of cancer survivors have chronic pain, representing 5.39 million patients in the United States.
“This study provided the first comprehensive estimate of chronic pain prevalence among cancer survivors,” said corresponding author Changchuan Jiang, MD, MPH, a medical resident at Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai West. “These results highlight the important unmet needs of pain management in the large, and growing cancer survivorship community.”
Specific types of cancer—such as bone, kidney, throat, and uterine—also had a higher incidence of chronic and severe pain that restricted daily activity. Chronic pain was more prevalent in survivors who were unemployed and had inadequate insurance.
Chronic pain is one of the most common long-term effects of cancer treatment and has been linked with an impaired quality of life, lower adherence to treatment, and higher health care costs. This study is important because a better understanding of the epidemiology of pain in cancer survivors can help inform future health care educational priorities and policies.
Researchers from the American Cancer Society, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the University of Virginia were part of the study team.
About the Mount Sinai Health System
Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.
Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties.