Ongoing Studies

Pain in Older Cancer Patients with Delirium: Development of an Observational Measure

Over 40,000 older Canadians die of cancer each year, a number that will grow as the population ages. Many of these patients will experience pain and delirium at the end of life, a brain dysfunction that makes it difficult to report pain. At present we do not have a tool to measure pain in older people with delirium at the end of life. The objective in this study is to develop a tool for healthcare workers to better assess and treat pain in patients who have delirium. . The results of this study will lead to better pain detection in elderly cancer patients with delirium. The results will also help to develop educational workshops for healthcare workers to improve their knowledge about management of pain.  This study is funded by a grant from Canadian Institute of Health Research.

Age Related Patters in Pain Following Breast Cancer Surgery

Surgery is a common treatment for breast cancer. After surgery, many women experience moderate to severe pain and up to 60% develop chronic pain. Older women, the largest group of breast cancer surgery patients, may be at greater risk than younger patients for unrelieved pain, prolonged recovery and chronic pain. Our team is studying how pain after breast cancer surgery differs with age and how psychological and biological factors impact recovery. This research will contribute to reduced pain and disability and increased quality of life for women following breast cancer surgery. This study is funded by grants from the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance and the Canadian Cancer Society

The Social Context of Cancer Pain in Younger and Older Patients and Their Spouse-Caregivers

With the aging population, there will be increasing numbers of older spouse-caregivers of people with cancer pain. These spouses may have unique caregiving needs and experiences, due to their own age-related physical limitations and co-occurring health conditions. Unfortunately, we know very little about the impact of cancer pain in younger and older couples. This study investigates age-related patterns in the impact of cancer pain on the marital relationship, and on quality of life of both members of the couple. This information will contribute to the development of treatments that consider the unique needs of couples of different ages.  This study is funded by a grant from Canadian Institute of Health Research.