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Hjermstad et al1 report an association between ‘high’ background pain intensity and breakthrough cancer pain. However, we would suggest that their results demonstrate that patients with uncontrolled background have more flares of pain than patients with well-controlled background pain. Thus, we would question the criteria used to identify patients with breakthrough cancer pain in their study.
We acknowledge the lack of consensus regarding the definition of breakthrough cancer pain, although this group has previously stated that …
Contributors ADa drafted the letter, and the other authors reviewed/agreed the final content. ADa is the guarantor for the content of the letter.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.