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Pain Research and Management
Volume 5, Issue 4, Pages 271-275
Tribute to Ronald Melzack

Pain with Life-Threatening Illness: Its Perception and Control Are Inextricably Linked with Quality of Life

S Robin Cohen1,2 and Balfour M Mount1,2

1Division of Palliative Care, Department of Oncology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2Department of Medicine, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This article describes how the quality of life of people with a life-threatening illness is affected by pain, and how their pain is influenced by all aspects of their quality of life. These aspects include the physical, psychological, cognitive, social, and spiritual and existential domains. This concept of pain is placed in the context of Ron Melzack's work highlighting the essential role of cognitive and emotional aspects of pain perception, and their influence on pain control. These issues continue to be a guiding force in the authors' own work and that of many others working in the field.