The abuse of pain medication by people in Providence County and throughout the rest of the U.S. has been well-documented. Oftentimes, cases of abuse begin by one having a legitimate need for such medication, yet ultimately becoming addicted to it. Given the potential for addiction, doctors must be judicious in prescribing pain medication. Yet can that apprehensive attitude result in patients being under medicated?
Information shared by the National Institute of Health shows that as many as 76.2 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain. Many find that to be a side effect of other conditions or even treatments, such as cancer care. In fact, the NIH lists pain as being a potential barrier to cancer treatment given that many patients may be unwilling to endure the suffering their care causes.
Studies have shown that cancer patients in particular may be a demographic at risk of being under medicated. Research shared by Medscape.com reports that nearly 50 percent of cancer patients may be under treated when it comes to dealing with pain. Among the primary reasons cited as to why this may be happening is the judgment of physicians. Evidence produced through the cited research suggested that the stage of one’s cancer could potentially play a role in under medication, with the general assumption being that patients who appear to be less ill are perceived to be in less pain.
Another possible reason for under treatment for pain in cancer patients identified by the Medscape report was a failure in communication between providers and patients. Patients should be up front and honest about the level of pain they’re experiencing, while doctors should be open to writing prescriptions based off what they’re hearing as opposed to any preconceived perceptions.