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December 20, 1995

When Will Adequate Pain Treatment Be the Norm?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neuro-oncology, Section of Pain and Symptom Management, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

JAMA. 1995;274(23):1881-1882. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530230067033

Inadequate treatment of pain continues to be a problem despite more knowledge about its causes and control and despite widespread efforts of governments and multiple medical and voluntary organizations to disseminate this knowledge, particularly at the postgraduate level. Of particular note are the recent publications of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research of the US Public Health Service1,2 and educational and dissemination efforts of the American Cancer Society, the American Pain Society,3 and cancer pain initiatives in many states. The Cancer and Palliative Care Unit of the World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized pain relief for cancer patients in developing countries because of limited cancer treatment facilities there. Most cancer in these countries is advanced, and treating its pain is the only practical approach available. To address this problem by educating health care professionals, the WHO4 developed an "analgesic ladder" for pain treatment, which uses

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