Children with cancer often suffer pain due to the disease or as a result of the treatment. Pain management in children is a much discussed issue. Researchers will compile all the available evidence and recommendations, and draft a clinical practice guideline that outlines the correct treatments for children.
Childhood cancer constitutes a complex group of diseases with very different aetiology, diagnosis and prognosis. A cancer diagnosis may mean imminent death; cancer is, in fact, the second cause of childhood death in Spain. Nearly all children with cancer will experience pain as a direct consequence of the disease, as a side-effect of treatments or invasive clinical procedures (considered even more painful than the disease itself) or as an aspect of psychological distress.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MANAGE PAIN PROPERLY IN CHILDHOOD CANCER?
Pain management is not always considered a priority by health professionals and, in most cases, it is not only treated incorrectly, but opinions are often distorted by myths, ignorance and fears of drug addiction.
Proper pain management in childhood cancer requires:
- Being aware of the different aspects that modulate this pain (development of the child, cognitive and emotional condition, personality traits, physical condition and past experiences);
- Knowing what the possibility of death means for the child, fears and concerns regarding the disease and death;
- Possible problems, attitudes and reactions of their family, as well as cultural and environmental background.
WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO WRITE A CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDE FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT IN CHILDHOOD CANCER?
Because it is a useful way of combining scientific research findings with the daily practice of health professionals. This allows research findings to be implemented in child care, improving the children’s quality of life.
WHAT IS A CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDE?
It is a set of scientifically supported recommendations developed with the aim of combining efforts to provide care, in this case, relating to pain management in childhood cancer.
WHAT IS THIS PROJECT ABOUT?
The goal of this project is for all health professionals involved in the care and treatment of childhood cancer (paediatric oncologists, children’s oncology nurses, psychologists, etc.) to have access to up to date information based on scientific research findings, so they can alleviate pain in children with cancer. By doing this, the project intends to improve children’s quality of life and reduce their pain, and also to reduce the distress of their families and carers.
WHERE CAN THE GUIDE BE DOWNLOADED?
The guide is available for download on the foundation’s website: