JunJ. Mao, MD, MSCE Integrative Medicine Service, Department of Medicine Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, New York
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The opioid crisis has fueled growing interest in non-pharmacological pain management options. Last year, Medicare approved insurance coverage of acupuncture for chronic low back pain. Despite this progress, many cancer survivors continue to struggle with chronic pain.
PainRelief.com Interview with: Jason R. Levy, MD, FSIR Vascular and Interventional Radiologist Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia
PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: For patients whose cancer has spread to their bones, their pain is often treated using radiation, which can take weeks to provide relief. In our study we examined the effectiveness of Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) for the palliative treatment of patients with painful osseous metastases.
Radiofrequency Ablation is a minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency waves to create heat that kills tumor cells and destroys nerve fibers to reduce transmission of pain signals to the brain. The procedure was followed up with cement injections to help stabilize the bone and prevent fractures that often occur following other treatments.
PainRelief.com Interview with: Andra Smith, Ph.D. Full Professor, School of Psychology University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON
PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The process of going through breast cancer treatment is challenging enough on its own and can continue to impact cancer survivors long after treatment ends. One of the common side effects of breast cancer treatment is the development of chronic neuropathic pain (CNP), which for many women is debilitating and difficult to manage. Medications are not always effective and quality of life, cognitive abilities, and overall well-being can be reduced due to this pain. Knowing personally and from previous research how effective mindfulness can be for well-being, it made sense to introduce a mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) to these women going through chronic neuropathic pain due to breast cancer treatment. Mindfulness has occasionally been dismissed as a ‘fad’ so it was important to investigate the impact of an MBSR program with objective measures that could provide empirical evidence of its effects within this population. Dr. Poulin had the clinical resources and participants for the study while Dr. Smith had the imaging expertise. Together we performed a brain imaging (MRI/fMRI) study with women more than a year following treatment for breast cancer, suffering from chronic neuropathic pain. We scanned them all before and after either an MBSR program or usual care, assessing brain health, resting-state brain activity, and neurophysiological responses to emotional/pain-related words (Emotional Stroop task).
PainRelief.com Interview with: Alex Fauer, RN, OCN® Ph.D. Candidate University of Michigan School of Nursing
PainRelief.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Our primary finding of the paper is that the age-, sex-, and US region-adjusted percentage of adults who used a gabapentinoid increased from 2.34% to 5.60% from 2005 to 2015. The total number of gabapentinoid prescriptions filled among US adults diagnosed with cancer was approximately 1.19 million in 2005, but increased to 3.52 million in 2015.
We also found that adults aged 18-44 were the highest users of gabapentinoids.
PainRelief.com Interview with: Jai N. Patel, PharmD, BCOP Chief, Pharmacology Research
Associate Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology
Department of Cancer Pharmacology
Levine Cancer Institute Charlotte, NC 28204
PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Pain is one of the most prevalent and burdensome symptoms affecting patients with cancer. Cancer-related pain is most commonly treated with opioid analgesics; however, nearly two-thirds of patients have inadequate pain relief and/or experience opioid-related side effects.
Furthermore, the fear of opioid abuse/addiction and toxicity deters some from prescribing opioids and reduces patient compliance. Thus, nonpharmacologic interventions such as acupuncture may be safer approaches to cancer-related pain. Randomized controlled trials suggest acupuncture reduces chronic neuropathic and postoperative pain in patients with cancer. It is unknown whether any patient characteristics predict post-acupuncture pain response.
We assessed acupuncture’s effectiveness for cancer-related pain, identified patient characteristics associated with pain response, and determined its effect on other concurrent cancer-related symptoms in palliative medicine outpatients. We identified significant benefits in pain scores immediately after the first treatment and across multiple treatments. Significant pain reduction was associated with higher baseline pain and more advanced disease stage.
We also identified significant changes in anxiety, depression, drowsiness, dyspnea, fatigue, nausea and well-being. Improvements in fatigue and depression also correlated with significant pain reduction after acupuncture.Continue reading →
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