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Research project: Systematic review of psychological interventions for pain in patients with cancer, NCRI CECo - Dormant - Dormant

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A review of the literature on psychological interventions available for people who have cancer related pain.


The prevalence of pain in patients with cancer is estimated to be between 50% and 70% during cancer treatment and 65% for those with advanced disease.  The aetiology of cancer pain is multifaceted, and predisposing factors include the progression of the disease, the treatments administered (surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiotherapy), changes in activity levels , and cancer-related infections (e.g. herpetic neuralgia). Present guidelines for the care of pain in cancer patients consist of a combination of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment modalities.  One of the most frequent adjuvant strategies combined with pharmacologic modes of treatment are psychological interventions, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnosis. Trials have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of psychological interventions for pain in cancer patients.  However, a brief review of the available literature failed to identify a recent systematic review which had included any psychological intervention as part of their review, and none which had specifically aimed to examine the evidence base for all psychological interventions. The proposed protocol aims to address this gap in the literature, and aims to systematically review psychological interventions for pain in patients with cancer.


The primary aim is to systematically review published research evaluating the efficacy of psychological interventions for pain in patients with cancer

Project team

Dr Christina Liossi,
Dr Deborah Fenlon, Senior Research Fellow
Dr John Hughes, Senior Research Fellow, Liverpool University

Project funder


Associated research themes

Pain management
Non-pharmacological interventions for symptom control

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes
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