Cancer Survivors and Opioids

Cap full of pills next to pill bottle

The Problem

Opioids are the mainstay of pain management during active cancer treatment. However, the extent to which cancer survivors continue to use opioids beyond active treatment is not well understood. 

Principal Investigator: Devon Check, PhD

The Solution

Using unique data from the NC Cancer Registry linked with Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance claims, we are quantifying and identifying:

Predictors of long-term opioid use in the 5 years following diagnosis with stage I-III cancer

Predictors of potentially high-risk co-prescribing of opioids with other drugs (e.g., benzodiazepines) after stage I-III cancer diagnosis

In addition, we are conducting interviews with cancer survivors and providers related to their experiences with and perspectives on long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain after cancer treatment. With the growing population of cancer survivors with chronic pain, efforts to improve the safety and effectiveness of pain management will become increasingly important. This project is in collaboration with the Cancer Information & Population Health Resource at the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.


This study is ongoing.

This page was reviewed on 08/17/2023