Barriers and Facilitators of Pain Self-Management Among Patients with Cancer: An Integrative Review

Published:January 16, 2023DOI:



      Defining the main barriers and facilitators of cancer pain self-management are essential to improve patients’ overall quality of life.


      The main purpose of this review was to identify the main barriers and facilitators for cancer pain self-management.


      An integrative review guided by the five-stages framework that was identified by Souza et al. (2010) was used: (1) preparing the guiding question; (2) searching or sampling the literature; (3) data collection; (4) critical analysis of the studies; and (5) discussion of results. A comprehensive literature review was conducted using the electronic databases of PubMed/MEDLINE, CINAHL, Scopus, and Psych INFO.


      Twenty-two studies were identified. The main facilitators that foster the process of cancer pain self-management were supportive ambiances including family caregivers as well as health care providers, active participation of patients with cancer in health care including self-discovery and self-awareness, acquiring pain knowledge, and using a pain diary. The main barriers include concerns regarding the use of pain medications, knowledge deficit, negative beliefs and attitudes, unsupportive ambiance, and psychological distress. Some patients’ characteristics could be related to these barriers such as age, sex, race, marital status, educational level, level of pain, and presence of comorbidity.


      Patients with cancer pain experience multiple barriers and facilitators when attempting to take on an active role in managing their pain.
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