OCT Breast Cancer Awareness and Addiction: When One Disease Leads to Another

Finding out you or someone you love has cancer is frightening. The emotional rollercoaster of understanding your diagnosis, treatment options and chances of survival is a challenging journey. All oncological treatments including breast cancer treatment are often unpleasant and painful, from radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. To help ease the pain caused by both the disease and its treatment, painkillers are often prescribed. For many, prescription painkillers provide much-needed relief during treatment and recovery, and that is all. But for some, reliance on painkillers turns into another disease to fight off: opioid addiction. This is truly a tragic outcome of an already rotten situation.


The Risk of Addiction for Cancer Patients

Cancer pain management through the use of prescription opioids can lead to addiction in some patients. Cancer surgery patients, in particular, face an even greater risk of prescription drug addiction. In a recent study at the University of Michigan, it was found that 10% of surgery patients take painkillers much longer than prescribed. Drugs that were meant for two weeks of usage are being used for 3 months, 6 months, and in some cases, a year after surgery.


Lead author of this study, Jay Lee, M.D. expresses the unfortunate double whammy of cancer and addiction, “We’ve performed this operation to cure them of their cancer. But we’ve left 1 in 10 as chronic opioid users. That’s a tremendous burden to leave with cancer survivors.”


Signs of Opioid Drug Addiction

If you or someone you know has undergone treatment and may be misusing painkillers, look for the warning signs of addiction:

  • Overusing painkillers beyond what is prescribed
  • “Losing” prescriptions so new ones can be filled
  • Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor
  • Increased pain with higher doses


Symptoms of Opioid Drug Addiction

  • Mood swings
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Feeling high
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Slowed breathing


Treatment for Opioid Drug Addiction

You deserve to be cancer free AND drug free. The disease is not your fault, and you are not to blame for taking prescription painkillers to manage your pain. You are, however, in control of your future when it comes to drug addiction. You can make the choice to get help, so that you can live your life free from the disease of addiction.


If you or someone you love is struggling with prescription drug use, call us today. D’Amore Healthcare can help you get through this journey so you can be a survivor in every sense of the word!