Attitude and knowledge of physicians about cancer pain management: Young doctors of South Korea in their early career

Myung hyun Kim, Hyeong Geun Park, Eun Chul Park, Keeho Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study is aimed at evaluating the attitude and knowledge about the optimal use of opioids and finding out the barriers to cancer pain management especially for young doctors in South Korea. Methods: A survey through questionnaire form was conducted on 1204 physicians. Physicians were grouped by their medical specialties and personal characteristics. Specialties were grouped into internal medicine and family medicine doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, other board holders and general physicians. Personal characteristics were grouped by their past experiences and current surroundings. Results: Though many doctors thought that they were fairly well educated for pain management strategy, a large population of physicians showed a negative attitude and inadequate knowledge status about cancer pain management. The degree of attitude and knowledge status was different as their specialties and personal experiences. The factors that affected doctors' attitude and knowledge were: (i) medical specialty, (ii) past history of using practical pain assessment tool, (iii) self-perception of knowledge status about pain management, (iv) experience of prescribing opioids, (v) experience of education for cancer pain management. Although many physicians had a passive attitude in prescribing opioid analgesics, they are willingly open to use opioids for cancer pain management in the future. The most important perceived barriers to optimal cancer pain management were the fear for risk of tolerance, drug addiction, side effects of opioid analgesics and knowledge deficit about opioid analgesics. Conclusions: From this study, we found that further education and practical training will be needed for adequate cancer pain management for young physicians in their early career.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberhyr043
Pages (from-to)783-791
Number of pages9
JournalJapanese Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was financially supported by National Cancer Center Grant 1010131-2.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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