Several factors considered to be barriers to cancer pain management have been reported in the past. The knowledge of cancer pain management may be a hindrance to the proper assessment and treatment of pain in cancer patients.
This report presents an evaluation of the knowledge and practice of cancer pain management among medical practitioners in Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika, Zaria.
This report involves medical practitioners at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital who are directly involved in the management of cancer patients. Information was obtained using a structured questionnaire, and the data were analyzed using SPSS (version 11.5).
The response rate to the questionnaire was 82%, with an age range of 23 to 50 years (mean age, 34.9), and the majority of actual respondents, 55 (67%), were male. Thirty-six (44%) strongly agreed that cancer patients require pain relief. Yet only 40% of the respondents routinely conducted pain assessments among cancer patients, while 51% only treated when patients complained of pain. Concerning the type of analgesic commonly used for cancer patients, 43% used weak opioids, 32% used NSAIDs, and only 20% used strong opioids. Seventy-five respondents (91.5%) had no formal training on pain management.
The knowledge of pain management for cancer patients among medical personnel at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital appears to be elementary. We recommend that formal training in the form of lectures, seminars, and workshops on cancer pain management should be part of continuing medical education in low-resource settings like the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital.