Approximately 40% of patients with breast cancer are estimated to have mental health problems. A recently published study in the Journal of Oncology Practice looked into the effect that psychiatric comorbidity has on the use of prescription opioids and survival in breast cancer patients.  This is a retrospective study that analysed a total of 10,452 patients over a six-year period from 2006-2012. Patients with an established mental health diagnosis had a higher risk of opioid use (72.5% v 66.9%; P = .01) and also an increased risk of death (hazard ratio, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.02 to 2.18). The authors conclude that there is a need for better concurrent management of breast cancer and chronic mental health conditions. Oncologists and clinicians ought to screen mental comorbidities like depression and anxiety at early stages of cancer.
1 Desai R, Camacho F, Tan X, et al. Mental Health Comorbidities and Elevated Risk of Opioid Use in Elderly Breast Cancer Survivors Using Adjuvant Endocrine Treatments. J Oncol Pract. Published Online First: 2019. doi:10.1200/jop.18.00781