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E. Why Cancer Patients Fail to Manage Pain

Narrator: This is Science Today. Cancer patients are often prescribed a combination of medications to help them cope with the pain brought on by the disease. But a recent study from the University of California San Francisco shows that many patients are failing to maintain their prescribed drug regimens. Doctor Chris Miaskowski, a UCSF researcher, says there are several reasons why patients skip their medication.

Miaskowski: One is a lack of education. They're not taught well how to use these drugs. I think the other issue is that they cause side effects. And that often will influence whether a patient takes the medication or not.

Narrator: But the side effects caused by pain medication for cancer are often minimal, and Miaskowski says doctors need to help patients understand the importance of maintaining their regimens.

Miaskowski: I think the message for patients is they need to realize that if they have a pain problem, they need to take their pain medication just as they would their insulin if they had diabetes or blood medication if they had high blood pressure.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.