Nearly 5.4 Million Cancer Survivors Have Chronic Pain

Nearly 5.4 Million Cancer Survivors Have Chronic Pain

New research shows that about one in three cancer survivors (34.6%) report having chronic pain.  That represents almost 5.4 million Americans who have survived cancer. The report appears in a Research Letter published in JAMA Oncology.  Of note, the findings show that one in six survivors (16%), representing about 2.5 million people in the U.S., reported suffering from high impact chronic pain (chronic pain limiting life or work activities on most days, or every day in the past 6 months) that restricts daily functioning. Those rates are about double the rates in the general population.

Chronic pain is one of the most common long-term effects of cancer treatment and has been linked with an impaired quality of life, lower adherence to treatment, and higher health care costs. Nevertheless, there is a scarcity of information regarding the prevalence of, and risk factors for, the development of chronic pain among cancer survivors.

To gain a better understanding of the epidemiology of pain in cancer survivors and help inform future health care priorities and policies, investigators led by Changchuan (Charles) Jiang, MD MPH of Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai West, New York, with researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, University of Virginia, and the American Cancer Societyinvestigated the prevalence of chronic pain among cancer survivors in the United States using data from the National Health Interview Survey (2016-2017). The survey collects information related to chronic pain (pain on most days or every day in the past six months) and high impact chronic pain.

Overall, 1,648 of the 4,526 cancer survivors identified in the survey (34.6%) reported having chronic pain; 768 of the survivors (16.1%) reported having high impact chronic pain. Applied to the nation as a whole, those rates equal approximately 5.39 million and 2.51 million cancer survivors, respectively, in the U.S.

Time since diagnosis was not significantly associated with the prevalence of either chronic pain, but a higher prevalence of chronic and high impact chronic pain was reported among survivors with less than a high school education (39.2% for chronic pain and 18.5% for high impact chronic pain), low household income (44.6% and 22.8%, respectively), public insurance among those aged 18-64 years (43.6% and 27.1%, respectively), or no paid employment (38.5% and 20.4%, respectively).

“Because socioeconomic status and employment are associated with insurance coverage and access to care in the United States, the patterns of chronic pain that we observed in cancer survivors may be explained by barriers to cancer care and pain management as well as by the type and extent of cancer treatment received,” said Xuesong Han, PhD, American Cancer Society investigator and co-author of the report. “The prevalence of chronic pain and high impact chronic pain among cancer survivors in our study was almost double that in the general population, suggesting there are important unmet needs in the large and growing community of people with a history of cancer.”

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Authored by: Staff

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Cancer Patient pulled cold turkey

Right! The American Cancer Society only spoke up for a week and backed off..probably $$ from CDC/DEA! They took me off mine cold turkey right when the cancer returned second fight stage 4 Triple Negative BC. I do have chemo induced pain such as arthritis, fibro, chronic pain. No Nsaids as I have bleeding disorder. Also, multi bulging disc with nerve involvement & much more..they don’t care

Most people that I know who have endured chemo and/or radiation treatment for a variety of different cancers have residual chronic pain issues as well as joint pain for years still. They all feel it will never change.
I have a friend who had breast cancer treatment.. It effected her knee joints so badly that she recently needed Total Knee replacement surgery. Her treatment eroded her knee joints.

Jody Hoffman

Better not be a cancer survivor in pain and have the Mayo clinic doctors as your provider. If you are a terminal patient at Mayo clinic even they do not care about you or your quality of life, they are going to continue to force tapers & cut off your opioid medication despite the CDC and FDA recent warnings. They are refusing to prescribe more than 50mme to anyone for any reason

Drema F

Just like anything, we need to buck the system. To be heard we need more physician’s-who hasn’t abandoned the science for policies , and who-practice medicine to heal or find the cause(s) to treat that pain. Some where we lost our doctors.

I was used as labor most of my life. When people judge their lives on what they have instead on threading all people right, we ( as a people) who have broken backs, knees, arms, hands and any other joint I didn’t mention, you get a nation of broken, spurred ridden, slip and torn muscles, we are going to need to be treat. Treated like a patient and not a damn addict.

When it comes to hurting and you went thru the hardest cancer /radiation treatment few years ago and u yourself have to research DRS.etc.for help and then hope they take state ins..Im still young and it’s like they can fix my pain but hay they don’t take STATE.Discumation.!!!But if u have few thousand dollars then they are so happy to Help.WHATS TJAT SAY ABOUT OUR GOVERNMENT? ??!!!

Jenny Solano

Did you note what kind of cancer these people survived?
Could some of of the chronic pain have been related to disability claims?

Max Beichert

Great; just what we need, another study!


People we really need to get it together here.we need a turnout as large as the right to an abortion turnout if we r going to get anywhere.cpp are in too much pain to rally so we need to enlist the help of family, friends and,neighbors and have the largest rally of them all!Think BIG or nothing will change.