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      Cancer Pain Management: An Italian Delphi Survey from the Rational Use of Analgesics (RUA) Group

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          In patients with cancer, the prevalence of pain is high, and pain management is often challenging despite the wide availability of drugs and guidelines.


          This Delphi survey was organized within the Rational Use of Analgesics (RUA) Group projects to reach a consensus among Italian palliative care specialists on pain assessment and management. Items were identified from recent publications on cancer pain and guidelines.


          This survey included input from 190 palliative care specialists representing all Italian territory. A consensus was reached on 17 statements. Items concerning pain assessment achieved over 70% agreement amongst the participants. Items on principles of pain management and management according to type of pain, including breakthrough cancer-related pain and neuropathic pain also achieved high levels of agreement.


          Results from the RUA project showed that Italian palliative care specialists had a particular interest in items related to pain challenges, in addition to the evaluation and control of pain associated with cancer. However, some discrepancies between current guidelines and clinical practice were observed.

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          Most cited references 12

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          Use of opioid analgesics in the treatment of cancer pain: evidence-based recommendations from the EAPC.

          Here we provide the updated version of the guidelines of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) on the use of opioids for the treatment of cancer pain. The update was undertaken by the European Palliative Care Research Collaborative. Previous EAPC guidelines were reviewed and compared with other currently available guidelines, and consensus recommendations were created by formal international expert panel. The content of the guidelines was defined according to several topics, each of which was assigned to collaborators who developed systematic literature reviews with a common methodology. The recommendations were developed by a writing committee that combined the evidence derived from the systematic reviews with the panellists' evaluations in a co-authored process, and were endorsed by the EAPC Board of Directors. The guidelines are presented as a list of 16 evidence-based recommendations developed according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation system. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Consulting the oracle: ten lessons from using the Delphi technique in nursing research.

            The aim of this paper was to provide insight into the Delphi technique by outlining our personal experiences during its use over a 10-year period in a variety of applications. As a means of achieving consensus on an issue, the Delphi research method has become widely used in healthcare research generally and nursing research in particular. The literature on this technique is expanding, mainly addressing what it is and how it should be used. However, there is still much confusion and uncertainty surrounding it, particularly about issues such as modifications, consensus, anonymity, definition of experts, how 'experts' are selected and how non-respondents are pursued. This issues that arise when planning and carrying out a Delphi study include the definition of consensus; the issue of anonymity vs. quasi-anonymity for participants; how to estimate the time needed to collect the data, analyse each 'round', feed back results to participants, and gain their responses to this feedback; how to define and select the 'experts' who will be asked to participate; how to enhance response rates; and how many 'rounds' to conduct. Many challenges and questions are raised when using the Delphi technique, but there is no doubt that it is an important method for achieving consensus on issues where none previously existed. Researchers need to adapt the method to suit their particular study.
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              A validation study of the WHO method for cancer pain relief.

              The method for cancer pain relief proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) consists of guidelines for a three-step treatment, from non-opioids to weak and then strong opioids, according to need. Adjuvant drugs can be added to each step. This report presents the 2-year experience of the WHO Collaborating Centre at the National Cancer Institute of Milan in the use of this method. This retrospective study shows that a correct use of the analgesic ladder can reduce pain to a third of its initial intensity. The use of non-opioids had an average duration of 19.2 days; in 52% of the cases treatment was discontinued due to inefficacy and in 42%, to side effects. Weak opioids were administered on an average for 28.0 days. A shift to Strong opioids was made in 92% of the cases due to inefficacy and in 8% because of side effects. Treatment with strong opioids lasted for an average of 46.6 days and can be considered the mainstay of cancer pain therapy. Performance status was not altered considerably during the study and hours of sleep were doubled. The analgesic ladder proved efficacious in 71% of the cases. Neurolytic procedures had to be used in 29%. The authors conclude that analgesics, as proposed by WHO, are the most suitable treatment arm in controlling pain in palliative treatment for advanced cancer patients. Lack of availability or underuse of opioids constitute the real obstacle to the application of this method.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                08 May 2020
                : 13
                : 979-986
                [1 ]Paolo Procacci Foundation , Rome, Italy
                [2 ]Palliative Care, Pain Therapy and Rehabilitation Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori , Milan, Italy
                [3 ]SC Cure Palliative ASST Carlo Poma , Mantova, Italy
                [4 ]Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit, Department of Emergency and Organ Transplants, University Hospital of Bari , Bari, Italy
                [5 ]Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Statistics Unit, Department of Medical, Surgical and Experimental Sciences, University of Sassari , Sassari, Italy
                [6 ]St Claire’s Hospice , Hastingwood, UK
                [7 ]Azienda Ospedaliera Salvini , Garbagnate Milanese, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Giustino Varrassi Paolo Procacci Foundation , Via Tacito 7, Rome00193, Italy Email giuvarr@gmail.com
                © 2020 Varrassi et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Tables: 2, References: 16, Pages: 8
                Original Research


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