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Research Letter
June 20, 2019

Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain in Cancer Survivors in the United States

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai St Luke’s Hospital and Mount Sinai West Hospital, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
  • 2Medical student, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • 3Division of Survivorship and Supportive Care, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
  • 4Surveillance and Health Services Research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Oncol. 2019;5(8):1224-1226. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.1439

The population of cancer survivors in the United States is growing rapidly.1 In 2016, the number of survivors was 15.5 million; with the aging of the population and advances in early detection and treatment methods, this number is expected to reach 26.1 million by 2040.1 Chronic pain is one of the most common long-term effects of cancer treatment and has been linked with an impaired quality of life, lower adherence to treatment, and higher health care costs.2 Nevertheless, there is a paucity of information regarding the prevalence of, and risk factors for, the development of chronic pain among cancer survivors. A better understanding of the epidemiology of pain in cancer survivors can help inform future health care educational priorities and policies. Accordingly, the objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain (HICP, chronic pain with major activity restriction) among cancer survivors in the United States by using data from the National Health Interview Survey (2016-2017).