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Lisa Martinsson Lab

Research group Our research group works on evaluating and developing methods to improve pain management for patients with cancer. We also conduct research on symptom relief and quality of care in end-of-life palliative care and cancer rehabilitation.

Pain treatment

Pain is very common in cancer and affects the majority of people with cancer during the course of the disease, representing over 10,000 patients annually in Sweden. Good pain relief is one of the most important parts of palliative care in cancer. A well-functioning method for pain assessment is of great value for the patient to get a well-functioning pain relief. It has already been shown from other patient groups that patients who find it difficult to tell themselves how much pain they have risk being undertreated, i.e. that they receive no or too little medication for pain, which in many cases can work very well if used correctly. Our group is doing research to evaluate and develop methods to reliably assess pain in cancer. We have a particular focus on patients in palliative care who, due to illness, are unable to communicate about pain. The project contains both quantitative and qualitative elements.

Quality of care in palliative care at the end of life

Every year, around 95,000 people die in Sweden, of which around 80% are estimated to have some form of palliative care needs at the end of life. The Swedish Palliative Care Register is a Swedish quality register that collects information on end-of-life care, focusing on the last week of life. The coverage rate is about 60%. The registry is an important database for research on symptoms and quality of life at the end of life. Our group is conducting a survey of pain assessment during the last week of life, in collaboration with the registry. A study comparing family memebers and staff's assessment of the patient's symptoms has recently been conducted, where we have seen that staff more often recognise that patients have pain and anxiety, but family members more often recognise that the patient is confused.

I am also part of the Swedish Palliative Care Registry's research group, which is a collaboration with the registry and researchers at Stockholm Hospital. We work to evaluate quality of care and symptoms at the end of life through registry data. The collaboration started at the beginning of the pandemic, where symptoms and quality of care at the end of life in COVID-19 could be investigated using registry data collected on an ongoing basis. The current focus of the group is on cancer symptoms.

Head of research

Lisa Martinsson


Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Diagnostics and Intervention

Research area

Latest update: 2023-11-28