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The experience of persistent pain in adult cancer survivors: A qualitative evidence synthesis

Armoogum, Julie; Harcourt, Diana; Foster, Claire; Llewellyn, Alison; McCabe, Candida S.


Claire Foster

Candy McCabe
Florence Nightingale Foundation Chair


This qualitative evidence synthesis aimed to identify, review and synthesise qualitative research describing the experience of persistent pain in adult cancer survivors.

A systematic literature search was conducted between December 2007 and June 2019. Data synthesis followed Thomas and Harden’s (2008) method of thematic synthesis.

Four studies were identified, together incorporating findings from 52 female breast cancer survivors. Six themes were generated: 1) Interwoven relationship between experience of cancer and persistent pain 2) Lack of preparedness and support for persistent pain 3) Physical impact of persistent pain 4) Employing coping strategies 5) Emotional experience of persistent pain and 6) Conceptualisation of persistent pain.

Persistent pain is intrinsically interwoven with women’s experiences of cancer. Persistent pain was unexpected and women did not feel supported. Women need more information about persistent pain after cancer treatment and support with self-management of pain. Ways to best support cancer survivors with persistent pain need exploration and a review of current available services is required. More research is needed to understand the experiences of men and other cancer groups.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2020
Journal European Journal of Cancer Care
Print ISSN 0961-5423
Electronic ISSN 1365-2354
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 1
Article Number e13192
APA6 Citation Armoogum, J., Harcourt, D., Foster, C., Llewellyn, A., & McCabe, C. S. (2020). The experience of persistent pain in adult cancer survivors: A qualitative evidence synthesis. European Journal of Cancer Care, 29(1),
Keywords cancer, cancer survivor, chronic pain, living with and beyond cancer, persistent pain