Burden of cancer pain in developing countries: A narrative literature review

Zhang Li, Tiara Aninditha, Brahim Griene, Javier Francis, Paulo Renato, Alain Serrie, Indira Umareddy, Sebastien Boisseau, Yacine Hadjiat

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer pain is one of the most common, feared, debilitating, and often undertreated symptoms among cancer patients. It needs attention since it has a significant impact on the quality of life (QoL) of the patients. Also, since cancer has emerged as a major health problem in developing countries, there is a need to strengthen preventive strategies for effective cancer pain management and provide comfort to cancer patients. Nonetheless, various barriers limit developing countries toward optimal cancer pain management. To bridge the gap between adequate pain management and burden of cancer pain in developing countries, a comprehensive understanding of the limitations faced and the prevalence of cancer pain should be addressed. The aim of this literature review is to provide a deeper understanding on the factors associated with cancer pain as well as barriers toward optimal cancer pain management in developing countries. Some of the barriers addressed were administrative, judicial, economic, and professional barriers. Also, estimates on the prevalence of cancer pain and detrimental effects of pain on the QoL of cancer patients have been addressed. In summary, pain, which is one of the most debilitating symptoms of cancer, remains uncontrolled and undertreated in developing countries. It has a profound impact on the patient’s QoL and can have physical, psychological, and social consequences; therefore, it needs to be managed urgently and appropriately. Most importantly, optimal treatment of cancer pain should be highlighted as a priority in developing countries and concerted efforts should be made to eliminate different barriers discussed in this review for effective and humane care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-691
Number of pages17
JournalClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Cancer
  • Developing countries
  • Economic
  • Health care
  • Pain
  • Quality of life


Dive into the research topics of 'Burden of cancer pain in developing countries: A narrative literature review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this