Cancer Pain and Opioid Use Disorder

Oncology (Williston Park). 2022 Sep 7;36(9):535-541. doi: 10.46883/2022.25920973.


Opioid use disorder (OUD) is increasingly recognized and co-present in patients with cancer. Unfortunately, OUD is not addressed or treated adequately in oncology settings. In addition, patients with cancer-related pain treated with narcotic pain medications are at risk for nonmedical opioid use (NMOU). More than two-thirds of patients with advanced cancer have pain. Both OUD and NMOU need to be concomitantly addressed alongside cancer-related pain management to avoid complications such as overdose. We review the approach to identifying and treating OUD and NMOU in patients with cancer and cancer-related pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects
  • Cancer Pain* / drug therapy
  • Cancer Pain* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / complications
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Pain / chemically induced
  • Pain / etiology


  • Analgesics, Opioid