Barriers to cancer pain relief: Fear of tolerance and addiction

Judith A. Paice*, Christine Toy, Susan Shott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


The purposes of this study were to (a) test the feasibility of the Cancer Total Quality Pain Management(TM) (TQPM(TM)) Patient Assessment Tool in a population of oncology inpatient and outpatients; and (b) identify factors associated with poor pain relief. The Cancer TQPM Tool was adapted from the American Pain Society's Quality Assurance Standards on Acute Pain and Cancer Pain and was tested in a convenience sample of 200 patients. The majority of patients reported that the TQPM Tool was easy to understand and to use, providing evidence for the feasibility of the tool. Factors associated with higher pain intensity included the inpatient setting, the presence of metastatic disease, hesitancy in bothering the nurse, and concerns regarding tolerance and addiction. Although there was a strong relationship between concern about addiction and concern about tolerance, fear of tolerance appeared to have a greater effect on pain intensity scores than did fear of addiction. The findings from this study suggest that the Cancer TQPM Patient Assessment Tool can be used effectively in both inpatients and outpatients to determine outcomes and the quality of cancer pain management, as well identify factors associated with poor pain control. Clinical implications include more effective education of patients and caregivers, including equivalent emphasis on tolerance and addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1998


  • Addiction
  • Barriers
  • Cancer pain management
  • Quality assurance standards
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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