Background and aim: The knowledge and attitudes of health care professionals with regard to pain and itsimpact on the patient are among identified barriers that prevent health care professionals from providingeffective treatment for pain. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate knowledge about and attitudestowards cancer pain and its management in Iranian physicians with patient care responsibilities.
Methods: We surveyed 122 physicians in six university hospitals in Tehran. Fifty-five (45.1%) questionnaireswere completed.
Results: The majority of physicians (76%) recognized the importance of pain managementpriority and about one half of the physicians acknowledged the problem of inadequate pain management intheir settings. Most cited inability to access professionals who practice specialized methods in this field, andinadequate staff knowledge of pain management as barriers to good pain management. A large majority ofthem expressed dissatisfaction with their training for pain management in medical school and in residency.Furthermore a considerable widespread knowledge deficit among all medical subspecialties and all levels ofexperience was noted which was significantly more profound in the non-oncologists group and only correlatedpoorly with number of total treated patients in past 6 months.
Conclusion: The most significant barrier to theeffective management of pain in cancer patients in Iran is deficit in knowledge as identified in this survey. Acombination of an active continuing education program on both the international guidelines with routineprofessional education and dissemination of guidelines is needed to bring about significant improvement incancer pain control.