The vast majority of patients diagnosed with cancer will have episodes of moderate to severe pain related to their under¬lying malignancy and/or painful procedures, such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy-induced mucositis, or from stem cell transplantation. Opioids remain the most impor¬tant pharmacologic agents for the management of these dis¬tressing symptoms. In recent years, the opioid overdose epi¬demic has created considerable concern among numerous stakeholders, including healthcare providers, patients, and pharmaceutical agencies, as well as federal, state, and local government agencies. This special series presents highly informative scholarly articles on opioid therapy in cancer pain management within the context of the recent national guidelines and policies related to the use of opioids.

In summary, we believe this series will be helpful in providing the much needed awareness and education for practicing oncologists regarding safe and judicious use of opioids. Our ultimate goal is that all oncologists improve their opioid prescribing practices through the adoption of a universal precautions approach when caring for patients receiving chronic opioid therapy.


Eduardo Bruera, MD, PAAHPM Joseph Arthur, MD
Medical Director Assistant Professor
Division of Cancer Medicine,
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Palliative Care and Rehabiltation Medice, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


For a breakdown of each article and its significance, read Dr. Arthur's Note HERE



The Other Opioid Crisis: Just Another Drug Shortage?
Tara E. Soumerai, Mihir M. Kamdar, Bruce A. Chabner
The Oncologist 2019; 24:574-575; first published on February 28, 2019; doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2018-0514


Safe Opioid Use, Storage, and Disposal Strategies in Cancer Pain Management
Akhila Reddy, Maxine de la Cruz
The Oncologist first published on May 16, 2019; doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2019-0242


Navigating Challenging Conversations About Nonmedical Opioid Use in the Context of Oncology
Zachary Sager, Julie Childers
The Oncologist first published on May 31, 2019; doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2019-0277


Risk Assessment and Monitoring of Patients with Cancer Receiving Opioid Therapy
Judith A. Paice
The Oncologist first published on May 22, 2019; doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2019-0301


Best Practices in the Management of Nonmedical Opioid Use in Patients with Cancer‐Related Pain
Esad Ulker, Egidio Del Fabbro
The Oncologist first published on December 24, 2019; doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2019-0540


Dancing with Deterrents: Understanding the Role of Abuse-Deterrent Opioid Formulations and Naloxone in Managing Cancer Pain
Megan T. Mitchell
The Oncologist first published on May 31, 2019; doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2019-0340


Opioid Prescribing Trends in Women Following Mastectomy or Breast‐Conserving Surgery Before and After the 2014 Federal Reclassification of Hydrocodone
Derrick C. Gibson, Lin‐Na Chou, Mukaila A. Raji, Jacques G. Baillargeon, Yong‐Fang Kuo
The Oncologist first published on December 4, 2019; doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2019-0758


Urine Drug Testing in Cancer Pain Management
Joseph A. Arthur
The Oncologist first published on October 11, 2019; doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2019-0525