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The difference a year makes

European initiative aims to improve chronic pain management

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) and the European Federation of IASP Chapters (EFIC) have launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness of recurrent pain.

The Global Year Against Pain initiative, launched in Istanbul on September 12 at the EFIC's 6th European Week Against Pain, will run until October 2007 and highlights the need for chronic recurrent pain to be treated as a disease in its own right.

IASP believes that management of pain is an increasingly important issue in Europe as the population continues to age, with 36.3 per cent of the population in developed countries forecast to be over 65 years old by 2050, a rise of 18.8 per cent on today's figures.

In particular, chronic pain affects more than 50 per cent of older people living in the community and more than 90 per cent of those in nursing homes, with a minimum of 50 per cent of the over 65s in Europe suffering from the disease.

Although recognition of chronic pain as a condition in its own right is at the centre of the initiative, the campaign also focuses on pain resulting from chronic diseases such as cancer.

While cancer is the second leading cause of death in adults over 65 years old and 67 per cent of all cancer deaths occur in those aged over 65, more than a quarter of cancer patients in this age group, who are in constant pain, do not receive analgesics.

As such, IASP and EFIC have focused attention on the need for healthcare professionals, policy makers and public health organisations to work together to attack the problem at all levels.

2nd September 2008

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