Dr. Weeks’ Comment: You have cancer and your doctor has prescribed morphine (or morphine like drugs – MS-contin, codeine etc.) for your pain. You do feel better, BUT… did she or he tell you that these drugs are suppressing your immune system?
Do you really want to take these immune suppressing drugs while you are fighting your cancer with the standard of care: chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
You understand that killing cancer does you no good if your immune system is depleted… Think on this and be proactive. There are many non-morphine like pain medications which can serve you better and there are many corrective therapies which can correct the problems which cause your pain – all without suppressing your immune system.
Morphine sets off a chain of biological events that stifles the immune response. (read article: http://www.nida.nih.gov/NIDA_notes/NNvol21N6/morphine.html
Intrathecal morphine suppresses NK cell activity following abdominal surgery.
These results suggest that long-lasting analgesic effects of intrathecal 0.5 mg morphine suppress the immune response following abdominal surgery.
FUNCTION OF NK CELLS:
Natural Killer Cells Eliminate Compromised Cells
Natural killer (NK) cells constitute a rapid-response force against cancer and viral infections. These specialized white blood cells originate in the bone marrow, circulate in the blood, and concentrate in the spleen and other lymphoid tissues. NK cells key their activities on a subset of the histocompatibility proteins that occur on the surfaces of healthy cells but that virus- and cancer-weakened cells shed. When NK cells encounter cells that lack histocompatibility proteins, they attack and destroy them””thus preventing the cells from further spreading the virus or cancer. NK cells are distinguished from other immune system cells by the promptness and breadth of their protective response. Other white blood cells come into play more slowly and target specific pathogens””cancers, viruses, or bacteria””rather than damaged cells in general.