December 8, 2023

Medical Trend

Medical News and Medical Resources

Is it addictive to taking painkillers for cancer pain? 

Is it addictive to taking painkillers for cancer pain? 


Is it addictive to taking painkillers for cancer pain?  What are the new advances in cancer pain treatment? What are the common misunderstandings?

Cancer patients, especially those in advanced stages, are tortured by more than 10 symptoms and syndromes. Among them, cancer pain is one of the most common symptoms.

According to statistics, the incidence of pain in newly diagnosed cancer patients is about 25%, while that in advanced patients can reach 60-80%, of which one third is severe pain. Cancer pain has devastated patients physically and mentally, and seriously affected the quality of life of patients. Not only the patient himself, but his family members are also affected by this pain. Therefore, cancer pain management is actually saving the entire family.

At present, what are the new advances in cancer pain treatment? What are the common misunderstandings? Listen to what MD Anderson cancer pain management experts say.


Is it addictive to taking painkillers for cancer pain? 


What are the cancer pains?


According to Dr. Uzondu Osuagwu, a cancer pain management expert at MD Anderson Cancer Center, cancer patients are usually tortured by three types of pain:

1. Cancer-related pain;

2. Cancer treatment-related pain (caused by surgery, radiotherapy, drug treatment, etc.);

3. Non-cancer-related pain (pain caused by other comorbidities, complications, and psychosocial factors, such as low back pain, may occur before or after cancer diagnosis).




What are the new advances in cancer pain treatment?

There are currently several common methods for treating cancer pain:

  1. Drugs;
  2. Intervention treatment, such as surgery or other therapies;
  3. Alternative therapies: such as acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, etc. The professional cancer pain management team treats the patient as a whole, not just the symptoms themselves, so these methods are usually integrated in pain management (integrated Chinese and Western medicine).

At present, in the field of cancer pain treatment, the most remarkable progress is spinal implant drug delivery. It allows us to achieve the purpose of treatment with a lower dose, which in turn can also reduce the incidence of side effects.

Another advancement lies in neuromodulation techniques, including spinal cord electrical stimulation or peripheral nerve block. We do this by using temporary devices or permanent implants. Both use electrodes to regulate the signals sent to the brain to achieve analgesic effects.

   Neuromodulation technology is still a rapidly developing field. However, we have seen that the temporary device can be removed after only 30-60 days of insertion, at which time some patients will experience significant pain relief. Some patients feel very good and report such a significant change after the trial (the testing phase before the actual device implantation), and they can even do something that has not been possible for many years.




 What are the common misunderstandings in cancer pain treatment?

① Endure the cancer pain first?

You can’t bear the pain of cancer. Because cancer pain itself is a disease, poor pain management will not only seriously affect the patient’s physical and mental health and quality of life, but also have a serious impact on treatment.

The ideal life state for cancer patients should be a painless life.

② Afraid that painkillers will become addictive?

About 75-90% of patients with advanced cancer need opioids for pain relief, but many patients worry about drug addiction. In fact, oral controlled-release and sustained-release opioids are not easy to become addictive.

When many patients were so painful that they couldn’t bear it, they asked the doctor to give a shot of Du Lengding to relieve the pain. In fact, the WHO does not recommend the use of Dulan Ding for the treatment of cancer pain, because not only the effect is poor, the action time is short, and long-term use can also cause neurotoxicity. In addition, some common analgesics (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are not absolutely safe, and there is a “ceiling effect.”

Some patients only take painkillers when they are in pain, or stop taking them without authorization. In fact, cancer pain is also a chronic disease. Only by taking medicine on time can the concentration of the medicine be kept stable, so as to effectively control the pain. Irregular medication or unauthorized discontinuation will cause a series of adverse reactions and affect the therapeutic effect.

Therefore, cancer patients must not make their own claims, and should take appropriate painkillers in accordance with the “ladder principle” and in accordance with the doctor’s instructions. If you feel that your pain is well managed, you can adjust your medication under the guidance of your doctor.

③ Can’t analgesics be taken with other medicines?

Analgesics and other medicines can be taken at the same time, but do not mix all kinds of medicines together to avoid mutual reaction between different medicines, or even toxicity. It is best to take each medicine at a slight interval.

Finally, hope that cancer patients will have as little pain and more dignity as possible on the way to fight cancer.


(source:internet, reference only)

Disclaimer of

Important Note: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.