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Cancer pain management in older adults is not 'one size fits all,' study finds

June 11, 2015
by Megan Combs, Associate Editor
| Reprints

When it comes to managing cancer-related pain in older adults, there is no "one size fits all" option, according to a new study published in the Journal of Gender Studies

Researchers used data from a sample of 150 adults over age 50 receiving cancer treatment in Florida in 2011. The goal was to learn gender and personality differences in their reported cancer-related pain. Researchers also wanted to determine if there were any psychosocial factors that could foretell cancer-related pain severity in the group.

Below are key findings from the study:

  • Women had significantly higher pain sensitivity than men
  • Gender was a key predictor of pain severity
  • Higher anxiety women was associated with lower reported pain severity, however differences in sensitivity between men and women could be responsible to social stereotypes.
  • Psychosocial factors, like age for women and education for men, were predictors for pain severity because social status and power balance were taken into consideration.

Knowing these facts, researchers warn caregivers to be wary of taking a "one size fits all" approach to cancer pain management. 

Read more of the study here.

Related article: Older adults with cognitive impairment may experience altered pain response



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