Managing Pain and OUD in Patients with Cancer

A team from the University of Illinois Cancer Center, the University of Illinois Chicago, and Mile Square Health Centers reported on the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary approach to manage chronic pain in a patient with a history of cancer and substance use in Current Problems in Cancer: Case Reports.

Cancer Center members Tamara Hamlish, PhD, MA, of the Cancer Prevention and Control research program, and Lawrence Feldman, MD, of the Translational Oncology Program, are the corresponding and senior authors, respectively. Cancer Center member Nicole Gastala, MD, and associate member Mary Pasquinelli, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, of the Cancer Prevention and Control research group, also were authors, along with Deborah Manst, MD, MPH, and Kristin Andersen, MSN, RN, both part of the Cancer Center in the Cancer Survivorship Program.

The report describes the case of a 69-year-old man who was diagnosed in 2010 with tonsil cancer and successfully treated but left with chronic pain that was managed, in part, with long-term opioid therapy. About a decade later, the man showed signs of non-medical opioid use and was diagnosed with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

As part of the multidisciplinary approach led by oncology, which included a family medicine/addiction medicine specialist, the patient was treated for OUD and his pain was effectively managed with buprenorphine/naloxone. A series of surgical procedures also resulted in successful pain management.

“This case highlights the need for evidence-based strategies available to oncology to mitigate the risk of OUD while managing cancer-related pain in long-term cancer survivors with a history of substance use,” concludes the case report published online October 10, 2022.

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