Physician knowledge and attitudes about cancer pain management: A survey from the Minnesota cancer pain project

Thomas E. Elliott, David M. Murray, Barbara A Elliott, Barbara Braun, Martin M. Oken, Karen M. Johnson, Janice Post-White, Leonard Lichtblau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


The purposes of the study were to determine the knowledge and attitudes about cancer pain management (CPM) among practicing physicians in six Minneasota communities and to determine the physician-related barriers to optimal CPM. Eligible community physicians were surveyed by telephone. The study analyzed responses of 145 physicians (response rate, 87%). The majority of the physicians were primary care specialists (73%). Significant knowledge deficits were identified in nine of 14 CPM principles, but inappropriate attitudes were found in only two of nine CPM concepts. Medical specially had the strongest influence on knowledge and attitudes, with primary care physicians having significantly better outcomes than surgeons or medical subspecialists. Effective education strategies must address knowledge deficits, attitudes, and motivations of the relevant per group influencing physicians, as well as those of individual physicians. The Minnesota Cancer Pain Project is testing strategies to enhance CPM by physicians and improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-504
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1995

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by US Public Health Service gent from the National Can-cer Instiru~c. CA-57803, to Thomas E. Elliott, MD, Principal Investigator, Minnesota Cancer Pain Project.


  • Cancer pain
  • analgesia
  • narcotic analgesic
  • pain control
  • physician education


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