Pain screening: Promoting standardised cancer pain screening at Peter Mac

Despite the availability of effective medications, pain continues to be a common consequence of cancer. Although preventable for approximately 70 - 90% of patients, data from a recent systematic review [1] reported that 39% of patients continue to experience pain after curative treatment; 55% during treatment; and 66% in advanced, metastatic or terminal disease. Almost 40% of patients report moderate to severe pain. The consequence of unrelieved cancer pain for patients and those witnessing it is devastating. [2]

This study explores the feasibility of implementing a standardised approach to cancer pain screening [3] in two specialist outpatient clinics at Peter Mac. Specifically the study will;

  1. Describe the incidence and prevalence of 'patient reported pain' during an outpatient appointment;
  2. Identify the proportion of patients who were screened for pain and received pain assessment and management where indicated;
  3. Explore the clinical and administrative feasibility of implementing pain screening in the outpatient setting; and
  4. Explore the patient perspective about the acceptability of the pain screening tool

Data from the study will inform implementation of standardised pain screening across all area of the organisation.

This study is now completed. Find out more about the findings of the Pain Study.


1. van den Beuken-van Everdingen MH, Hochstenbach LM, Joosten BE, Tjan-Heijnen VC, Janssen DJ. Update on Prevalence of Pain in Patients with Cancer: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2016 Apr 22. pii: S0885-3924(16)30048-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2015.12.340. [Epub ahead of print].

2. K. Kroenke, D. Theobald, J. Wu, et al. The association of depression and pain with healthrelated quality of life, disability, and health care use in cancer patients. J Pain Symptom Manage, 40 (2010), pp. 327–341

3. Australian Adult Cancer Pain Management Guideline Working Party. Cancer pain management in adults. Sydney: Cancer Council Australia. [Version URL:, cited 2016 May 16]. Available from:


Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre



Principal Investigator/s

Prof Mei Krishnasamy, Cancer Experiences Research

A/Prof Odette Spruyt, Pain and Palliative Care Research

Contact details

Prof Mei Krishnasamy

Chair in Cancer Nursing | Department of Nursing

University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research

VCCC Research and Education Lead – Cancer Nursing

Email: [email protected]