Opportunities - Health care provider and patient perspectives on prescribing opioids for cancer survivors

Health care provider and patient perspectives on prescribing opioids for cancer survivors

University of Calgary



Although opioids are associated with risks, they offer substantial clinical benefit for cancer patients and survivors when used appropriately. For moderate to severe cancer-related pain, opioids are considered the mainstay of treatment. Many patients with early-stage cancer and advanced (metastatic) cancer experience pain that can impair their level of activity, function and well-being. Recent data highlight that cancer patients and survivors may be at higher risk of chronic opioid use than the general population.

Understanding the patient and prescribers views on the factors related to decision making around opioid prescribing can help the development of care pathways and inform evidence-based changes to public health policies to support safe prescribing and alternative pain management strategies (i.e. multi-modal pain management) where appropriate. There is lack of information on the perspectives of prescribers about the risks associated with chronic opioid use and their clinical considerations when prescribing opioids to early-stage cancer patients. Some initial research has shown that providers may be uncomfortable managing substance misuse due to a lack of training and are interested in more guidance on prescribing opioids in cancer survivors. It was also noted that physicians often defaulted to providing an opioid prescription because they lacked knowledge about multimodal pain management strategies or did not perceive misuse to be a problem in cancer patients. No research to date has explored patient’s perspectives on decision making around taking opioids in the short or long term.


Roles and Responsibilities

This opportunity is looking for 2-3 patient partners who have experience taking opioids during or after cancer treatment who can review and provide feedback on the one page interview guide that we are creating.

A copy of the interview guide will be e-mailed in advance. The research team will setup a meeting, either by zoom or telephone, whichever is preferred by the patient reviewer. We believe this subject matter has the potential to be sensitive and requires patient feedback.


Time Commitment

This will be a one-time commitment and should take a maximum of 60 minutes to complete.



This is strictly a volunteer role. There are not travel costs associated with this opportunity.


For more information or to apply please contact

Dr. Colleen Cuthbert                                                             Christie Farrer

cacuthbe@ucalgary.ca                                                         christie.farrer@ucalgary.ca