What happens after cancer surgery
You've fought cancer and won. No nasty little tumor is going to get the best of you.
But don't let your guard down just yet.
New research exposes an ugly risk of cancer, and it's not something the disease leaves behind.
It's something left by the treatment itself, and it could lead to your toughest battle yet.
Many cancer patients end up on powerful painkillers -- and they're not for pain caused by the tumor.
They're used to ease the agony of body-wrecking treatments such as surgery and chemo.
Now, new research shows how too many patients are given addictive drugs for that pain, and months later... long after the cancer is gone... they're still struggling to quit taking those meds.
Three to six months after treatment has ended, 10 percent of patients who had surgery for cancer are still taking opioid drugs.
That's nearly double the rate of folks who've had surgery for other conditions.
That alone is bad enough. When you consider how many people are treated for cancer every year, that could add up to tens of thousands of patients or more.
But this gets worse.
Many folks who have surgery for cancer also have chemotherapy, a one-two punch that's supposed to give you your best shot against the disease.
Unfortunately, it's also far more painful and debilitating than either treatment on its own, and more people end up on pain pills as a result.
Three to six months later, up to 1 in 5 of them are STILL taking opioid painkillers.
These weren't people who were already on opioids. They were folks who had never touched these drugs and probably never imagined taking them.
And they weren't folks with the deadliest cancers getting the drugs to ease pain as part of their end-of-life care. The study focused on people with curable cancers, including early-stage breast cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma.
These are folks who should've been back at home and back on their feet.
Instead, they were locked in the nightmare of a battle with painkiller addiction -- and they weren't just popping a pill for occasional pain.
They were taking five or six pills a day, a number in line with what chronic opioid users -- and abusers -- often take.
There's a better way.
In many cases, opioid drugs are no better than standard pain pills, even after cancer.
But you can do even better than that.
Natural therapies given alongside your cancer care can help limit side effects like pain.
Work closely with a holistic medical doctor experienced in natural cancer care.
If you're in the San Diego area, I can help. Make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.
Not in the area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.
And don't forget to connect with me on Facebook!