News Release 

More than 5 million cancer survivors experience chronic pain, twice the rate of the general population

The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

More than 5 million cancer survivors in the United States experience chronic pain, almost twice the rate in the general population, according to a study published by Mount Sinai researchers in JAMA Oncology in June.

Researchers used the National Health Interview Survey, a large national representative dataset from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to estimate the prevalence of chronic pain among cancer survivors. They found that about 35 percent of cancer survivors have chronic pain, representing 5.39 million patients in the United States.

"This study provided the first comprehensive estimate of chronic pain prevalence among cancer survivors," said corresponding author Changchuan Jiang, MD, MPH, a medical resident at Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai West. "These results highlight the important unmet needs of pain management in the large, and growing cancer survivorship community."

Specific types of cancer--such as bone, kidney, throat, and uterine--also had a higher incidence of chronic and severe pain that restricted daily activity. Chronic pain was more prevalent in survivors who were unemployed and had inadequate insurance.

Chronic pain is one of the most common long-term effects of cancer treatment and has been linked with an impaired quality of life, lower adherence to treatment, and higher health care costs. This study is important because a better understanding of the epidemiology of pain in cancer survivors can help inform future health care educational priorities and policies.

Researchers from the American Cancer Society, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the University of Virginia were part of the study team.

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About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in six other specialties in the 2018-2019 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 11th nationally for Ophthalmology and 44th for Ear, Nose, and Throat. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, Mount Sinai West, and South Nassau Communities Hospital are ranked regionally.

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