I really thought we had gotten over this problem, but an article appearing in a recent report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology indicates that the age old problem that often our doctors fail to supply adequate pain medications to advanced cancer survivors because a fear of drug addiction This attitude still hampers good survivorship care!
“At the end of life, we should feel comfortable providing whatever necessary to control pain,” said Joel Hyatt, assistant regional director at Kaiser Permanente. Concerns about overdose and addiction should not prevent terminally ill patients from obtaining relief.
Pain is a common occurrence with almost one half of all cancer survivors and this percentage is probably much higher in men with advanced prostate cancer. Since 90% of all prostate cancer tumors are to the bone which are always painful as they get larger, pain is a constant companion of men with advanced prostate cancer.
A common pain treatment opioids, a type of narcotic, work in the spinal cord and brain to reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain. The opioids hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet) are commonly prescribed painkillers. Hydrocodone is the most prescribed medication in the U.S., according to the International Narcotics Control Board.
It is true, opioid overuse and abuse are a widespread problem that gets lots of attention in the news media – and that may keep cancer patients and doctors from using pain killers appropriately.
According to Judith Paice, a pain specialist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago most pain is controllable. However, to get appropriate care patients must accurately describe their symptoms, and physicians must seriously consider them when a patient says they are in pa