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Cancer‐related pain in children is prevalent and undermanaged. Mobile health (mHealth) applications provide a promising avenue to address the gap in pain management in children with cancer. Pain Buddy is a multicomponent mHealth application developed to manage cancer‐related pain in children. The goal of this paper is to present preliminary efficacy data of the impact of Pain Buddy on children's pain severity and frequency.


In a randomized controlled trial over 60 days, children (N = 48) reported daily pain on a tablet while receiving usual care. Those in the intervention group (N = 20) received remote symptom monitoring and skills training for pain management. Children in the attention control group (N = 28) only reported on their pain.


Both groups experienced significant reductions in average daily pain over the study period (B = −0.10, z = −3.40, P = 0.001), with no group differences evident (z = −0.83, P = 0.40). However, the intervention group reported significantly fewer instances of moderate to severe pain compared with the control group, t(4125) = 2.67, P = 0.007. In addition, the intervention group reported no instances of moderate to severe pain toward the end of the study period.


Pain Buddy is an innovative and interactive mHealth application that aims to improve pain and symptom management among children with cancer. The findings from this pilot study suggest that Pain Buddy may aid in the reduction of pain severity in children during cancer treatment.


This is the accepted version of the following article:

Hunter JF, Acevedo AM, Gago‐Masague S, et al. A pilot study of the preliminary efficacy of Pain Buddy: a novel intervention for the management of children's cancer‐related pain. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2020; 67:e28278.

which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.





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