Breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP) is a predictor of interference with general activities and poor pain management. The extent of this influence has not yet been determined.
This study aimed to investigate the influence of BTcP on general activities, and pain management in patients with controlled background pain.
Single-center prospective observational study.
The study cohort comprised 258 consecutive patients (female, 40.0%; mean age, 64.5 years) who had received opioid medication for cancer pain for over 2 weeks.
A recommended diagnostic algorithm was used to quantitate and compare interference with general activities, average background pain intensity over the previous 24 hours (24h-PI), and achievement of personalized pain goals (PPGs) (24h-PI≤PPG) of 119 patients with and 139 patients without BTcP.
Interference with general activities, 24h-PI, and PPG scores [mean (standard deviation)] in patients with BTcP were 2.8 (2.2), 3.0 (1.7), and 1.8 (1.4), respectively, which are all significantly higher than for those without BTcP [1.3 (2.0), p < 0.01; 1.7 (1.6), p < 0.01; 1.5 (1.3), p = 0.03], respectively. A significantly smaller percentage of patients with BTcP than without BTcP achieved their PPGs (36.1% vs. 67.6%, p < 0.01).
BTcP has a negative impact on general activities and pain management. Healthcare providers should recognize that management of BTcP is important in improving general activities and management of cancer pain.