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Improving medicines information can reduce pain for cancer patients

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Proper information on painkillers can cut the pain that a cancer patient experiences by a fifth, research has suggested.

Using a one to 10 scale of pain, patients who were at five out of 10 said their pain dropped by one point if their fears were discussed and they were given more information about how the painkillers worked.

The research, which used data from 21 existing studies, looked at cases where staff encouraged patients to discuss their pain, reduce addiction fears and side effects, and advised on when to take the analgesics.

Other studies have shown around four in 10 cancer patients are experiencing pain by the time they are diagnosed, rising to 70% of people with more advanced disease.

Professor Michael Bennett, from Lancaster University, who carried out the study, said: “This is good news for cancer patients.

“Helping people manage pain is a major challenge for doctors and our research shows for the first time that education is an effective, easy and cheap way to do this.”

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