Barriers to Cancer Pain Management
Barriers to Cancer Pain Management

General Barriers

  • Lack of good cancer pain control policies in IHS / Tribal clinics, due to:
    • Myths about cancer patients becoming addicted to pain medications
    • Some narcotics having a high street / illegal value (i.e., stolen from the cancer patient and sold to drug abusers in the community
    • Lack of staff in rural or bush regions who can legally prescribe narcotic medications.
    • Lack of funding or secure storage facilities for local IHS / Tribal clinics to stock narcotic drugs
  • Valuing stoicism - Indians/big boys/girls dont cry
  • Having a No pain, no gain philosophy (tough it out)
  • Assuming all drugs are bad rather than using drugs in the dose and frequency as prescribed by the provider (Just say no to drugs)
  • Being unclear or not understanding about physical dependence, tolerance and addiction

Barriers: Reluctance to report cancer pain

  • Fear having pain means my cancer is getting worse
  • Want to be a good patient; my provider is very busy (I didnt want to bother him about my pain)
  • Concern I may distract my provider from treating my cancer
  • Belief that pain happens to all cancer patients; there is nothing I can do about it.

Barriers: Reluctance to take pain medicines

  • Fear of addiction
  • Fear my family will view me as an addict
  • Worries about side effects
  • Concern that there wont be enough medicine for me to take if/when my pain gets really bad if I take some now when the pain isn't really that bad





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