Opinion: Opioid stigma is keeping many cancer patients from getting the pain control they need

"I am not part of the oxycodone EPIDEMIC."
Source: John Moore/Getty Images

History is repeating itself. Twenty years ago, a pain management crisis existed. As many as 70 percent of cancer patients in treatment at that time, or in end-of-life care, experienced unalleviated pain. Identified as a major medical problem, poor pain management became synonymous with poor medical care. In fact, prescribing adequate pain medication became mandatory for hospital accreditation.

The medications used to treat moderate to severe pain among people with cancer helping fuel today’s opioid crisis. Though it has turned a much-needed spotlight on the overprescription of these medications, it is overshadowing their among people who really need them, especially those, and 1 in 3 cancer patients do not receive medication of their pain.

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