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"Cancer Survivors More Likely To Be Prescribed Opioids Even Years Later" - Alexa Mieses, MD

  • ABC News
  • New York, NY
  • (2017-08-07 00:00:00.0)

As if battling cancer wasn’t enough, many long-term survivors may eventually find themselves dealing with opioid dependency, according to a new study. Cancer survivors are substantially more likely to be prescribed opioid painkillers over many years. Prescription opioids, which are in the same class as illicit heroin, are often indicated and prescribed for pain during cancer treatment and recovery. “This article highlights a dilemma about those long-term survivors who are on chronic opioids, and maybe we should take a harder look at them in terms of pain management,” said Charles Shapiro, MD, director of cancer survivorship and translational breast cancer research at The Tisch Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “But we often don’t have the resources to take that harder look. It is important not to discount the usefulness of opioids for helping cancer patients manage serious, sometimes debilitating pain.” We can’t lose the message that opioids are indicated for that group with chronic pain and they work well, Dr. Shapiro added.

- Charles Shapiro, MD, Director, Cancer Survivorship, Translational Breast Cancer Research, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Professor, Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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