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For Your Patients: Myths and Facts About the Management of Cancer Pain

For Your Patients: Myths and Facts About the Management of Cancer Pain

Myth: Cancer patients will become addicted to

the morphine
doctors prescribe for pain relief.

Fact: Addiction to strong pain medications is rare in chronic
cancer pain patients. Doctors can increase, decrease, or change
pain medications to accommodate each individual's needs. Many
patients may need to take stronger medications to manage their

Myth: Cancer patients build tolerance to pain

medication. As
their disease progresses and they

start to feel "real"
pain, their medication does not

work anymore.

Fact: Drug tolerance does develop, but it can be overcome. Physicians
can increase dosage levels or change prescriptions, depending
on what type of medication provides effective relief for each
patient. There is no "ceiling dose" for the pain- relieving
effects of morphine.

Myth: When cancer patients ask for pain

medication, their disease
is worsening.

Fact: Pain may be caused by the cancer or by cancer treatments,
including radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy. Sometimes the source
of pain is unrelated to the cancer. Relieving cancer pain is an
essential aspect in a patient's ability to fight disease. Cancer
pain does not necessarily mean the disease is progressing to its
advanced stages.

Myth: Side effects from pain medication cause

cancer patients
to lose control.


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