Pain control among cancer patients receiving strong opioids and their perspective towards opioids in a developing country with a diverse multicultu...

Date 24 November 2018
Event ESMO Asia 2018 Congress
Session Poster display - Cocktail
Topics Cancer Care Delivery in Low Resource Environments
Palliative Care
Presenter Daniel Lee
Citation Annals of Oncology (2018) 29 (suppl_9): ix129-ix138. 10.1093/annonc/mdy444
Authors D.Z.F. Lee, D.K.L. Kiu, V. Pei Jye
  • Department Of Radiotherapy & Oncology, Sarawak General Hospital, 93586 - Kuching/MY



Strong opioids are commonly used to manage severe pain among cancer patients, however patients’ misconceptions towards strong opioids result in pain under-treatment, reducing their quality of life.


Patients were invited to fill in a survey inquiring their age, gender, ethic group, religion, education level, occupation, marital status. Pain was measured objectively with a visual analogue scale from 0-10 and effects of pain measured using the Brief Pain Inventory-short form. Patient-related barriers were measured using Barriers Questionnaire-II. Scores were expressed as means with standard deviations and associations were analysed using parametric or non-parametric tests, interpreted at 5% significance.


Of 133 participants, 62% of patients have good pain control however 71% still have moderate to severe interference with daily activities due to pain. Pain intensity correlated positively to daily interferece (p = 0.000) of daily activites and belief of fatalism (p = 0.001). Patients with higher education levels tend to have strong barriers towards opioids (p = 0.000). There were significant difference between ethnic groups on perspective of harmful effects of opioids, with Malay recording greater barriers followed by the Chinese and Dayak communities.


Pain is a multidimensional experience requiring exploration from multiple aspects. Healthcare professionals should educate patients to clear misconceptions regarding opioids and thorough pain assessment is essential.

Editorial acknowledgement

Clinical trial identification

NMRR-17-2209-37841 (IIR).

Legal entity responsible for the study

National Medical Research Registry of Malaysia.


Has not received any funding.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.