Pain in Pediatric Oncology: Do the Experiences of Children and Parents Differ from Those of Nurses and Physicians?
Diagnosis and treatment of pain are central components in the care of children withcancer. The aim of the present study was to compare the viewpoints of children andparents with those of professionals, on different aspects of pain in children with cancer.Information was collected through questionnaires and interviews. In particular, wefocused on the extent and causes of pain, strategies to reduce procedural pain, painevaluation, and attitudes to pain treatment.We found that both families and professionals shared the opinion that pain was acommon symptom during different phases of cancer treatment but, surprisingly, profes-sionals regarded it as more frequent than families. The groups agreed that treatmentrelated pain is the most critical problem, followed by procedure and cancer relatedpain. Concerning strategies to decrease procedural pain, there was a high concordancein views between groups. Nurses and physicians more often claimed that failing paintreatment was associated with psychological factors such as high levels of anxiety inparents and children, loneliness, and lack of preparation. The self-report, according toboth parents and professionals, is a feasible procedure even in young children from 4years of age. Both groups asserted that parents were better in ascertaining the extent oftheir child's pain. In conclusion, although the families and professionals in this study have many com-parable views concerning pain in children with cancer, divergences also exist. Toacquire a more accurate picture of the situation we must focus on the views of the chil-dren first, and then those of parents and professionals. Atendency to overestimate theproblems was observed in professionals. Hopefully this reflects a keen awareness ofthe current situation.
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