INTRODUCTION : Although much has been reported on cancer information needs, the literature is
scant on cancer pain information-related needs. This might be prohibiting understanding of
complex experiences of pain and fulfilment of information needs. An exploratory review of
research on cancer pain and information-related needs is used to make suggestions for future
research. The review reports on research themes, research designs and research gaps.
METHOD : Key Library and Information Science, Healthcare and inter-disciplinary databases were
searched for articles reporting on cancer pain and information-related needs. It is an exploratory
ANALYSIS : Thematic analysis identified the following themes: people affected/studied, and the
type, stage and care/treatment of cancer as well as care location. It also addressed the research
designs including research approaches, research methods, means of data collection and sample
RESULTS : Research on cancer pain and information-related needs are limited, scattered in terms
of cancer type, stage, care/treatment and care location, and the research designs are often too
compartmentalised and simplistic to fully appreciate the complexities of cancer pain and the
difficulties in contextualising, recognising, expressing, acting-on / fulfilling, and re-assessing
pain information-related needs.
CONCLUSION : Suggestions are offered for further research embracing the commitment for
palliative care of cancer pain and ensuring quality of life, enhanced research designs, the need to
address the issue of differing terminologies on a broader extent between disciplines and in a
narrower context, between patients and healthcare practitioners, and to explore means to address
the complexity of cancer pain and cancer pain information-related needs.