Despite suffering severe pain, about one in three older cancer patients do not end up taking opioids, the most potent of analgesics, according to a new study from Canada.
It's not clear why these patients are not getting their pain treated with opioids, which include morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl. It could be that physicians are not prescribing the medications or that patients are getting prescriptions, but not filling them.
The researchers gathered information over two years on all cancer patients over age 65 in Ontario, Canada who had been screened for pain.
Of more than 24,000 people included in the study, 20 percent reported that they had severe pain.