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17-08-2017 | Oncology | News | Article

News in brief

Opioid use common in cancer survivors

medwireNews: A Canadian population-based study shows higher prescribing rates for opioids among cancer survivors than in individuals without a prior cancer diagnosis.

“[T]his trend persists even for survivors who are 10 or more years past their cancer diagnosis,” Rinku Sutradhar and colleagues, from the University of Toronto in Ontario, note in Cancer.

And they write: “Physicians providing primary care to cancer survivors should consider close examination of reasons for continued opioid use in order to differentiate chronic pain from dependency, as well as explore alternative methods for pain control, such as physical therapy, exercise, and acupuncture.”

Among the 17,202 Ontario residents included in the study, the opioid prescription rate was a significant 1.22-fold higher for the 8601 cancer survivors – that is, those who had survived for at least 5 years after their diagnosis and had no indication of recurrence – than for the same number of age- and gender-matched controls without a prior diagnosis of cancer.

The likelihood of receiving an opioid prescription remained significantly higher for cancer survivors even at 10 or more years from diagnosis than for controls, at a relative rate of 1.24.

By Shreeya Nanda

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2017 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group