Cancer and Pain: Opportunities to Optimize Patient Care

Pharmacy Times, August 2017 Pain Awareness, Volume 83, Issue 8

The lifetime probability of developing cancer is 38% for women and 42% for men, which translates into millions of individuals who need the latest information on this disease, as well as compassionate care and counseling

The lifetime probability of developing cancer is 38% for women and 42% for men,1 which translates into millions of individuals who need the latest information on this disease, as well as compassionate care and counseling. In 2016 alone, an estimated 1.6 million new cancer diagnoses were reported.1 In “8 Things a Pharmacist Should Know to Counsel Patients with Cancer” on pharmacytimes.com, Pharmacy Times® contributor Larry Calemine, RPh, BSPharm, provides insightful suggestions on how pharmacists can educate and counsel patients with cancer. For example, as the number of cancer cases increases, so does concomitant use of OTC medications and supplements. Calemine notes that most anticancer medications are metabolized via inhibition or induction of cytochrome P450 liver enzymes, and so are OTC medications, which can lead to drug—drug interactions. Pharmacists must be prepared to guide patients with cancer in the safe and effective use of OTC products.

Pharmacists have a tremendous opportunity to make a positive difference in these patients’ lives and those of their loved ones. See Calemine’s article on pharmacytimes.com for other practical suggestions for counseling patients with cancer. Pharmacy Times® and its parent company—Michael J. Hennessy Associates, Inc— are fully committed to educating and supporting all health care providers and patients to help win victories over cancer every day.

Patients with cancer must often manage pain due to the disease itself or treatment. In the general population, pain is the most common reason for seeking medical care and is a common reason why people turn to complementary and integrative health approaches.2 Because of their accessibility, pharmacists are especially well positioned to recognize legitimate pain in patients and to help them and the entire health care team manage all types of pain. To support this effort, the articles in this Pain Awareness issue include “OTC Case Studies: Self-Care for Pain Awareness,” “Abuse-Deterrent Formulations: 1 Tool in the Opioid-Abuse Epidemic,” and “Getting a Grip on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.”

Also in this issue, we celebrate the 2017 Next-Generation Pharmacist® winners—pharmacy leaders and innovators who are committed to improving patient care. For more information on these awards, please visit nextgenerationpharmacist.com. These individuals represent the present and future of all pharmacy settings around the country. For instance, Lifetime Leadership winner Jeff Goad, PharmD, MPH, helped stimulate the growth of pharmacist-based travel health services in the United States and is the first North American pharmacist to be selected as a fellow in the International Society of Travel Medicine.

Please join us in congratulating these esteemed winners, who have gone beyond their usual pharmacy duties to redefine their profession, improve patient care, and benefit their communities. May these leaders of pharmacy inspire all pharmacists to be creative and compassionate in caring for and counseling patients.

Thank you for reading!

Mike Hennessy, Sr Chairman and CEO