Frequency, characteristics, and correlates of pain in a pilot study of colorectal cancer survivors 1-10 years post-treatment

Amy E. Lowery, Tatiana Starr, Lara K. Dhingra, Lauren Rogak, Julie R. Hamrick-Price, Maria Farberov, Kenneth L. Kirsh, Leonard B. Saltz, William S. Breitbart, Steven D. Passik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: The long-term effects of disease and treatment in colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors are poorly understood. This study examined the prevalence and characteristics of pain in a sample of CRC survivors up to 10 years post-treatment. Design: One hundred cancer-free CRC survivors were randomly chosen from an institutional database and completed a telephone survey using the Brief Pain Inventory, Neuropathic Pain Questionnaire-Short Form, Quality of Life Cancer Survivor Summary, Brief Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale, Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale, and Fear of Recurrence Questionnaire. Results: Participants were primarily Caucasian (90%) married (69%) males (53.5%) with a mean age of 64.7 years. Chronic pain was reported in 23% of CRC survivors, with a mean moderate intensity rating (mean=6.05, standard deviation=2.66) on a 0-10 rating scale. Over one-third (39%) of those with pain attributed it to their cancer or treatment. Chi-square and t-test analyses showed that survivors with pain were more likely to be female, have lower income, be more depressed and more anxious, and show a higher endorsement of suicidal ideation than CRC survivors without chronic pain. On average, pain moderately interfered with daily activity. Conclusions: Chronic pain is likely a burdensome problem for a small but not inconsequential minority of CRC survivors requiring a biopsychosocial treatment approach to improve recognition and treatment. Open dialogue between clinicians and survivors about physical and emotional symptoms in long-term follow-up is highly recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1673-1680
Number of pages8
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Pain
  • Pain Interference
  • Quality of Life
  • Survivor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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