Gender Differences in Pain in Cancer Patients

성별에 따른 암환자의 통증 차이

  • Kim, Hyun-Sook (Department of Elderly Health and Welfare, Chongjui National College of Sciene & Technology) ;
  • Lee, So-Woo (College of Nursing, Seoul National University) ;
  • Yun, Young-Ho (Department of Family Medicine, National Cancer Center) ;
  • Yu, Su-Jeong (Department of Nursing, Woosuk University) ;
  • Heo, Dae-Seog (College of Medicine, Seoul National University)
  • Published : 2001.06.30


Purpose : To determine whether there exist gender differences in pain in Korean cancer patients and whether the depression and performance that are often expressed differently between men and women with cancer interact with pain. Method : The results of survey were collected from 140 in- and out-patients (78 male and 62 female) who had cancer treatment at one of the university hospital in Seoul for four months from February of 1999. The severity and interference of pain were examined with the self-reported survey based on Korean version of Brief Pain Inventory (BPI-K). Demographic and clinical information for all patient were compiled by reviewing their medical records, and the level of depression was examined with the Korean version of Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-K). Usual statistical methods, e.g., frequences, means and SDs were used to characterize the sample. The chi-square tests for categorical data and t-test for numerical data were used for group comparison. And the correlation between variables were performed using Pearson correlation coefficient. Resuts : 1) The mean scores of the worst pain for last 24-hours measured with the pain severity of BPI-K were 5.77 in male and 6.45 in female. The pain interference of BPI-K in men was in the order of mood (5.49), enjoy (5.36), and work (5.00), and in women were work (7.48), enjoy (7.16), and mood (6.53). 2) In pain severity, significant difference was found between men and women in the average pain for last 24-hours (t=-2.130, P=.035). In pain interference, significant difference was found between men and women in activity (t=-2.450, P=.015), mood (t=-2,321, P=.022), walk (t=-2.762, P=.007), work (t=-4.946, P=.000), relate (t=-2.595, P=.010), sleep (t=-2.071, P=.040), enjoy (t=-3.198, P=.001). 3) It was found that the items of pain and depression are significantly correlated in men but not in women. Men also exhibited higher correlation in the items of pain and performance status than women. Conclusions : Women report significantly greater average pain for last 24-hours and for all items of pain interference than men. Pain and depression are significantly correlated in men. The results of this study suggest that gender differences in pain should be considered for planning effective pain management program.