Navigation Search


Patrick I. Borgen, MD, chair, Department of Surgery, director, Breast Cancer, Maimonides Medical Center, discusses the opioid crisis related to the treatment of patients with breast cancer.

Borgen, chairman of the 2019 Miami Breast Cancer Conference, feels that this was one of the most important topics discussed during the 4-day meeting. It is projected that in 2019 alone, there will be approximately 75,000 lives lost to opioid overdose in the United States. About four-fifths of those people, Borgen says, will have received a prescription from a doctor for pain medication.

With over 1 million breast cancer surgeries being conducted every year in the United States, the breast cancer community has a chance to make a difference in this space and ultimately decrease the number of opioid-related deaths, Borgen says. In his lecture at Miami Breast, Borgen discussed ways for community oncologists and surgeons to address this serious issue and overcome it.

For example, Borgen shares that at Maimonides Medical Center, an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery protocol has been implemented. This multimodality approach incorporates factors such as patient education, nutrition, and maintaining the right temperature during surgery in an effort to eliminate the need for opioids in postoperative care.