Practice Patterns in Distinguishing Between Background Pain and Breakthrough Pain During Patient Education: a Korean Physician Survey

Jinyoung Shin, Do Yeun Kim, Juneyoung Lee, Youn Seon Choi, In Gyu Hwang, Sun Kyung Baek, Min Seok Seo, Jae Yong Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study sought to explore the association between physician practice patterns and patient education, with a focus on breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP). A nationwide online survey was conducted by 92 Korean physicians. Thirteen questions on Korean physician’s assessment, prescription, patient education practices, and knowledge regarding BTcP were administered. Based on their responses, physicians were divided using two methods: (1) by their patient education practices, where the “education group” always explained the distinction between background pain and BTcP and the “less education group” which explained it less frequently; and (2) by their definition of BTcP, as occurring “after control of background pain” or “regardless of background pain.” We compared practice patterns using Fisher’s exact test or Student’s t test and performed multiple logistic regression analysis. The “education group” (65 physicians, 70.7 %) was more likely than the “less education group” to assess BTcP meticulously (odds ratio [OR] 17.13, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 4.98–58.94), prepare rescue medications in advance (OR 3.67, 95 % CI 1.36–9.90), and give explicit instructions regarding medications (OR 36.68, 95 % CI 5.63–239.15). Physicians who defined BTcP as occurring “after control of background pain” were more likely to explain how to take rescue medication (P < 0.05) than physicians who defined BTcP as occurring “regardless of background pain.” Korean physicians’ BTcP practice patterns may be affected by whether they consistently educate patients on the distinction between background pain and BTcP, regardless of their knowledge of the definition of BTcP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016 Sep 14



  • Breakthrough pain
  • Health knowledge
  • Physician practice patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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