Dr John Williams, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Management

At The Royal Marsden’s pain clinic, patients can use a tablet computer to show where, and how severe, their pain is. They also complete questionnaires about the impact of pain on their daily life and mood, as well as any side effects from pain-relief medication.

This information is stored in a new research database and used to monitor the effect of treatments for pain, provide an early warning of anxiety or depression, and identify the types of pain associated with certain cancers.

Dr John Williams, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Management, said: “Conveying the nature of pain is often challenging. This database will lead to improved pain control and provide accurate data that will enable us to perform novel research on the pain associated with cancer.”

The software was piloted in the Pain Management clinics at Chelsea and Sutton and will be rolled out across other outpatient clinics.

It was funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity thanks to a generous donation by The Katie Compson Foundation, which was set up in memory of Katie Compson, who passed away from cervical cancer in 2011.