Prostate cancer pain management: EAU guidelines on pain management

Pia Bader, Dieter Echtle, Valerie Fonteyne, Kostas Livadas, Gert De Meerleer, Alvaro Paez Borda, Eleni G Papaioannou, Jan H Vranken
World Journal of Urology 2012, 30 (5): 677-86

CONTEXT: The first publication of the European Association of Urology (EAU) guidelines on Pain Management in Urology dates back to 2003. Since then, these guidelines have been revised several times with the most recent update achieved in 2010.

OBJECTIVE: Given the scope of the full text guidelines, condensing the entire document was no option in this context. This paper presents a summary of the section of pain management in prostate cancer, a topic considered of direct relevance for the practicing urologist.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A multidisciplinary expert panel (urologists, anaesthesiologists, radio-oncologists) compiled this document based on a comprehensive consultation of the literature. Data were identified through a structured search, covering the time frame 2000 through 2010, using Medline and Embase as well as the Cochrane Library of systematic reviews. The scientific papers were weighed by the expert panel and a level of evidence (LE) assigned. Recommendations have been graded as a means to provide transparency between the underlying evidence and the guidance provided. Pain can occur in each stage of prostate cancer. It could be caused by the cancer itself (77%), be related to the cancer treatment (19%) or be unrelated to either (3%). The incidence of pain rises to 90% as patients enter the terminal phase of their illness. The physician's task is to discover and treat the cause of pain and the pain itself, to determine whether or not the underlying cause is treatable, to provide pain relief and palliative care. These tasks more often than not require a multidisciplinary team. Pain management involves mainly pharmacotherapy, including direct anticancer therapy such as androgen deprivation and chemotherapy, as well as analgetics, for instance non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioids. In case of local impairment due to the cancer or its metastases, primary treatments like surgery, radiotherapy or radionuclides can provide adequate pain relief. In addition, in palliative care, functional, psychosocial and spiritual support are essential components. The EAU guidelines on Pain Management in Urology are available in a number of different formats through the EAU Central Office and the EAU website ( ).

CONCLUSION: The mainstay of pain management in prostate cancer is involvement of and collaboration between experts from a number of disciplines to be able to achieve a complete pain evaluation and to offer the full range of treatment options. Prostate cancer-related pain can, in most cases, be managed effectively, but it requires careful monitoring where a balance should be found between pain relief and potential side effects of treatment and quality of life (QoL).


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