Controlling Pain in Cancer

OncoLink
Last Modified: January 7, 2013

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Question

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?

Answer

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.