My mother had advanced lung cancer and is starting to have significant pain. She is very hesitant to take anything – she says she doesn't want to be an addict. I am pretty sure that is not a reasonable fear, but I am not expert. What are the facts?
Suzanne Walker CRNP, MSN, AOCN, Nurse Practitioner for Thoracic Malignancies at Penn Medicine responds:
I would further explore your mother's concerns about addiction. What makes her feel that way (ie, a previous personal experience)? The percentage of patients with cancer pain who develop a true addiction is very small. When I discuss this with my patients, they usually feel more comfortable with starting pain medications.
Learn more about pain management in this I Wish U Knew video about Pain management.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from the Focus on Lung Cancer Webchat.