Chronic Pain in Cancer Patients Varies by Income and Insurance Status Interview with:

Changchuan (Charles) Jiang MD, MPH MSSLW Internal Medicine Residency Program, Class of 2020 Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Jiang

Changchuan (Charles) Jiang MD, MPH
MSSLW Internal Medicine Residency Program
Class of 2020
Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai What is the background for this study?

Response: Chronic pain is one of the common side effects of cancer treatments and it has been linked to low life quality, lower adherence to treatment, higher medical cost. As the population of cancer survivors grows rapidly, chronic pain will be a major public health issue in this population. We know from previous studies that chronic pain is common in certain cancers such as breast cancer. However, little was known about the epidemiology of chronic pain in the cancer survivors until our study. What are the main findings?

Response: My colleagues and I used the national representative survey “National Health Interview Survey” to identified 4526 adult cancer survivors from 59770 participants in 2016 and 2017. 1 in 3 cancer survivors (34.6%) were found to have chronic pain, representing 5.39 million patients in the United States. The prevalence of chronic pains varied significantly based on patients insurance status and income level. Nearly 1 in 2 cancer survivors had chronic pain when their household income is under the federal poverty level. What should readers take away from your report?

1) 1 in 3 cancer survivors suffered from chronic pain, representing 5.39 million patients in the United States.

2) 1 in 6 cancer survivors were limited by chronic pain in life and work activities, representing 2.51 million patients.

3) the prevalence of chronic pain varied remarkably by income level and insurance status. there are significant unmet needs in the cancer survivors’ pain management. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Further research is needed to reveal the reason for insurance disparity in chronic pain management. It would also be interesting to explore why chronic pain was more prevalence in certain cancers. These would all contribute to the large unmet needs of pain management in cancer survivors.  


Jiang C, Wang H, Wang Q, Luo Y, Sidlow R, Han X. Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain in Cancer Survivors in the United States. JAMA Oncol. Published online June 20, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.1439


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