Time for the Cancerous Tumours
With advancing age, elderly patients may also be on other courses of medication which can interfere with the drug treatments that are set aside for cancer. Moreover, since older patients may suffer from vision or hearing losses, it may actually be necessary to have more frequent monitoring in order to assess whether and to what extent these patients are suffering pain. Problems such as constipation, headaches and other kinds of toxicity are more likely to occur in older patients.
Before any kind of medical intervention can be planned and administered, the critical aspect to be noted would be pain assessment. (Fink, 2000). Several different studies have shown that about 30 to 40% of patients who are at the diagnosis stage experience pain, while 70 to 80% of patients who are going through therapy or who are at the end stages of their life experience pain( Cleenan et al, 1994. Van Ronenn et al, 1993). In the study by Van Roennen et al (1993), 897 physician survey responses in Wisconsin were assessed in order to determine physician perception of pain management in cancer patients. In relation to the use of analgesics in pain management, 86% of respondents felt that that cancer patients were under-medicated and the overall consensus was that adjuvants and prophylactic side effect management should be used more effectively and frequently in devising a treatment plan for cancer patients, in order to help them cope with their pain. The significant aspect of this study was the finding that most physicians rated poor assessment of pain as the single largest barrier ineffective pain management in cancer patients.
On this basis, Fink (2000) argues that an accurate assessment of the pain being experienced by the patient is .the cornerstone to optimal pain management, and the quality and efficacy of any assessment tools will depend largely upon the ability of the clinician to focus on the patient. .