Procurements 101: Why people with head and neck cancers don’t like opiates

Q: I have read that taking opiates can significantly worsen your chances of some cancers. Is that why people with head and neck cancers don’t like to take opioids?

A: Head and neck cancers take their name from the body part they occur in. The symptoms and research suggest opiates have an adverse effect on some patients.

Other indications of head and neck cancer are:

♦ Other cancers

♦ Headaches

♦ Difficulty swallowing

♦ Unsuccessful treatment with radiation or chemotherapy

♦ Breathlessness

♦ Food or liquid coming into nasal cavity

♦ Poor sleep

♦ Immune suppression

♦ Heart attacks

♦ Headaches more severe than normal with loss of balance, face dishevelment and difficulty breathing

♦ Bleeding

♦ Lots of pain

♦ Blood in stool

♦ Headache with loss of vision in one eye

♦ Difficulty swallowing

♦ Palsy

♦ Difficulty speaking, swallowing, eye movement

♦ Vision loss

♦ Nausea

♦ Bleeding through nostrils, gums

♦ Vision loss with mouth swelling, vomiting

♦ Foreign objects in nasal cavity

♦ Eyesight problems

♦ Anxiety and depression

What is your sign of head and neck cancer?

If you have either:

♦ Headaches that persist

♦ Permanent loss of any sense of balance

♦ All of the above

♦ Mouth and throat pain that has lasted more than 3 months

If you fall into any of the above categories (if they are caused by your cancer) your doctor might refer you to a rheumatologist for a review of your options. Other options are treatment with steroids and pain killers, along with/followed by surgery.

Alex J. Berendt is a D.C.-based journalist. He hosts a show on WAMU 88.5 FM/Radio and edited the Michigan edition of Scientific American Magazine. An America-Russia expert, he’s writing a book about the subject.

Leave a Comment