Cancer Pain: An Evolutionary Concept Analysis

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Cancer pain is among the most severe types of pain and is among the most common types of cancer-related problems. Yet, many ambiguities surround the concept of cancer pain and its attributes.


This study aimed to analyze the concept of cancer pain.


This concept analysis was conducted using the Rodgers’ evolutionary method. Nursing, psychology, social sciences, and medicine literature were reviewed through searching online databases. In total, 52 articles were included and analyzed through thematic analysis.


The attributes of cancer pain are known origin, sharp, burning, piercing, or throbbing quality, varying duration (acute, chronic, or breakthrough), intolerability, and moderate to severe intensity. Its antecedents are cognitive system, pain-related beliefs, coping strategies, family and social support, financial status, and cultural, ethnic, racial, and religious values. Its consequences include physical, psychological, existential and spiritual, and social consequences, and reduced quality of life. This concept analysis concludes that cancer pain is different from other types of acute and chronic pain. Thus, specific interventions are needed for its assessment and management.

Implications for Case Management Practice: 

The results of this concept analysis can broaden the case manager/health care team and other health care providers’ knowledge about cancer pain and help them make better decisions and take more effective interventions for its management. The information in the article can be used to inform the case manager/health care team when it may be time to consider palliative care or even hospice care. Also, the information, itself, is crucial for case managers to understand when a patient has cancer pain.


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