Director of Nursing Diane Cope Authors Study on Pain Management Considerations in Older Cancer Patients

Fort Myers, FLA., September 4, 2019 — Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) Director of Nursing, Diane G. Cope, PhD, APRN, BC, AOCNP, is the author of a study that focuses on the complex considerations for managing pain in older cancer patients.  Entitled “Cancer Pain Management Considerations in Older Adults,” the article was published in May 2019 in Seminars in Oncology Nursing and addresses the biological responses to drugs in older adults, as well as the movement of drugs through the body in elderly cancer patients and how these factors can impact pain management planning.

Headshot-for-Press-Release-Diane-CopeIn a meta-analysis of pain management in cancer patients, only 34 of the 122 studies included in the review (about 28%) involved participants with a mean age of 65 or older. “Pain is a clinically significant and complex problem in older adults with cancer, yet little is known or understood about pain prevalence, optimal assessment and management in this unique population.  Chronic pain is often perceived as an age-related condition; however, pain is not a normal part of the aging process.”

Cope points out, “Numerous factors can hinder adequate pain management in older adults with cancer,” including prevailing stereotypes and ageism that can prejudice the adequate treatment of pain in older patients. “Pain management can be hampered with fears regarding opioid side effects, such as constipation, sedation, falls and respiratory depression, resulting in undertreatment.  Providers may be apprehensive about possible drug-drug interactions because of multi-morbidities and polypharmacy in older adults."

In its conclusion, the study states the management of cancer pain in older adults is a complex problem that must be based on a thorough assessment of the unique factors in each individual patient.  Cope adds that oncology nurses can play a key role in this assessment and in the “education of patients and caregivers regarding pain medications, side-effects and oral adherence.”

To review an Abstract of the study: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0749208119300403?via%3Dihub

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