Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guest Article by Jillian McKee

Howdy, friends!!  Awhile ago, I received a very interesting article about fibromyalgia and cancer pain management that I thought would be a good read for those afflicted with these ailments.  The article was provided to me by Jillian McKee and I thank her for such a nicely written article and for sharing it on my lil' ole' blog!  Thank you again, Jillian and for being so patient while I was ill and couldn't blog for awhile.  Here is her article.  Please let us know what YOU think!

Fibromyalgia and Cancer Pain Management

New research studies suggest that fibromyalgia patients may have an increased risk of developing cancer, the common denominator of which appears to be chronic musculoskeletal pain. According to a paper published in the Journal of Rheumatology in January 2007, there was an increased cancer risk in patients referred to the hospital for suspected fibromyalgia. Similarly, a 2009 paper published in Rheumatology found that musculoskeletal pain is associated with a long-term increased risk for cancer. While there is no established causal relationship between fibromyalgia and cancers such as mesothelioma and others, in 2004, Dr. Gary J. McFarlane of the University of Manchester discovered a greater incidence of subsequent cancer in patients with chronic widespread pain, and that these individuals were 80% more likely to die after being diagnosed with malignancy than those without a history of chronic pain.

Chronic pain is not well understood by the general public and the intense, widespread pain of fibromyalgia, including pain around the lungs, a condition identified as costochondritis, remains especially mysterious to those unaffected. The pain of costochondritis is similar to the pain of mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs. Because both conditions are considered orphan diseases, pharmaceutical companies don't consider the research and development of drugs to treat them to be cost effective. In early stages of both of these conditions, taking NSAIDs remains the prescribed treatment. Opioids are prescribed when the pain becomes intolerable. Holistic treatment methods for chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia and cancers such as mesothelioma include acupuncture, specific breathing techniques and relaxation. The
mesothelioma life expectancy rate varies depending on the individual with a reported mean average of 4-18 months. Life expectancy among fibromyalgia patients appears to be nearly the same as the general public with some exceptions, such as in patients who also develop cancer. 

Whether for five years or 50, however, successful chronic pain management drastically improves quality of life. Drugs such as Cymbalta or Neurontin can effectively manage pain for some patients, while others will need to resort to strong narcotics including oxycodone and hydrocodone. Due to their addictive qualities, however, caution should be used when taking narcotics for long periods of time, making other pain management techniques more attractive for long-term chronic pain. Developing more holistic approaches to pain management early on can lead to better effectiveness in late-stage disease.


  1. Missy
    Thank you for sharing this article....hope you are doing better!! 
    hope you are staying cool, it is spose to be 108 here today :( blah!

    Your dad is doing good :)  and he promises no more spilling on the keyboard!!! he can't seem to get the space b v to work (think they need more cleaning (winks)

    Love n Hugs
    Gina & Dad

  2. Very interesting article.  I have that annoying Chest pain almost all of the time.  Interesting about getting the cancer.  I am glad you posted it.



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