Pain Management, Gender, and Quality of Life in Cancer Patients

John Robert Buhmeyer, Walden University


The type of cancer pain management used may have an effect on the quality of life (QOL) of cancer patients. Researchers have determined that cancer patients are inadequately treated for pain and pain management is an essential determinant of patient survivability and QOL. Numerous clinical studies have been accomplished concerning opioid administration and noncancer and cancer pain management exist. Previous studies have examined the relationship between cannabinoid products, noncancer pain, cancer pain, and related QOL for patients but have not focused on the QOL of cancer patients while also moderating for gender. These relationships were investigated using the health belief model. The cancer pain management treatments (opioids and/or marijuana [cannabis]) and QOL, measured with World Health Organization Quality of Life Survey (WHOQOL-BREF), of 236 cancer patients were analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA), planned contrasts, post hoc tests, and moderated ANOVA (PROCESS tool) in the causal-comparative research. Research findings indicated significant benefit in cancer patient physical and psychological QOL in participants using marijuana when compared to participants using opioids and physical QOL for participants using marijuana over participants using both opioids and marijuana combined. Enhanced pain management options for cancer patients in order to reduce opioid side effects, increase pain treatment effectiveness, and improve patient QOL could yield positive social change. Growing rates of opiate addiction, abuse, and mortality are public health concerns and cannabis may be an effective pain treatment to reduce these social costs. This research may be of use to legislators considering rescheduling marijuana to less than Schedule I.