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Information cuts pain by a fifth

Cancer patients can reduce their experience of pain by a fifth if doctors give them information on how their painkillers work, according to a study.

Research at Lancaster University revealed that patients experience less pain if they are better informed about their painkillers and their fears are addressed.

Researchers looked at a review of 21 existing studies on the topic to gather their results.

They found that where average pain scores were about five out of 10 on a scale of one to 10, people given proper information said their experience of pain dropped by a fifth, or one point.

During the studies, patients worked with doctors to reduce fears relating to addiction and side-effects, they discussed their pain with doctors and were given advice on how to take their painkillers.

Other studies have shown around four in 10 cancer patients are experiencing pain by the time they are diagnosed, rising to 70% of people with more advanced disease.

Professor Michael Bennett who carried out the study, said: "This is good news for cancer patients.

"Helping people manage pain is a major challenge for doctors and our research shows for the first time that education is an effective, easy and cheap way to do this."

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