Unfortunately, 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States alone. A cancer diagnosis often brings a lot of pain from the illness itself to the patients’ treatments. Fortunately, there are ways to manage cancer pain, though, and this blog post will explore some of the best tips. We hope that these tips will help you manage cancer pain more effectively.
Assess the Pain
The first step in managing cancer pain is a comprehensive assessment of your condition and pain. This evaluation should be conducted by a healthcare professional experienced in treating cancer pain. During the tests, you will be asked about the location, intensity, and duration of your pain. You will also be asked about any other symptoms you may be experiencing. This information will help your healthcare team develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Manage the Pain
Pain is a common symptom of cancer and can be caused by the tumor itself, the treatment (chemotherapy), or other health problems. Cancer pain can range from mild to severe and interfere with routine daily activities. Fortunately, over the last 30 years, there have been many advancements in treating cancer pain. Below are some options:
Take Pain Medication
Your healthcare team may prescribe pain medications to help you manage your cancer pain. There are various types of pain medication, and your healthcare team will choose the ones that are best for you. However, it is important to take these medications as prescribed and not exceed the recommended dosage.
Try Pharmacologic and Anesthetic Approaches
There are several over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, and targeted cancer therapies that can be used to reduce cancer pain. In some cases, local anesthetics may also be used to provide relief.
Use Adjuvant Analgesics
Adjuvant analgesics are used to enhance the effect of other pain medications. They may be used when pain cannot be adequately controlled with a single medication. Some common adjuvant analgesics include NSAIDs, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. Your healthcare team can help you decide if adjuvant analgesics are right for you.
Remove or Reduce the Cancer
If the cause of your pain is cancer itself, then removing or reducing the tumor may be the best approach. This can be done through surgery, radiation therapy, or other treatments. In some cases, chemotherapy can also be used to reduce the size of the tumor.
Go for Palliative Surgery or Radiation Therapy
Palliative radiation therapy is a type of radiation therapy used to relieve cancer pain without killing the cancer cells. Palliative surgery or radiation therapy can be used to relieve pain caused by cancer that cannot be operated on because it has spread to other parts of the body.
Consider Nerve Blocks
Nerve blocks are injections that can be used to block the nerve impulses that cause acute pain. This can provide relief from pain that is not responding to other treatments. There are several different types of nerve blocks, and your healthcare team will work with you to find the one that is best for you. Some common types of nerve blocks include:
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Peripheral nerve blocks
- Nerve root blocks
- Trigeminal neuralgia injections
Epidural and Intrathecal Pumps Can Be Effective
Epidural and intrathecal pumps can be used to deliver medication directly to the site of the pain. This provides rapid and effective relief from pain. These pumps can be used to provide a variety of medications, including opioids, local anesthetics, and corticosteroids.
Neurosurgical approaches are associated with the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, etc. Neurosurgeons specialize in treating tumors and other diseases of the brain and spine. When drugs are not providing sufficient relief from pain, nonpharmacologic approaches can be used. For example, doctors can disable the nerves in the spinal cord that bring the pain impulses to the brain.
There are several psychological approaches that patients utilize for cancer pain. They are an important part of effective pain management, as they can provide strategies to patients for relieving their stress and improving their quality of life. These include hypnosis, relaxation techniques, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
These approaches can help patients deal with the stress and anxiety that often accompany cancer pain by allowing them to discuss their situation in group settings and improve their knowledge of their condition through cancer education sessions.
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
In addition to medication, you may also want to consider complementary and alternative therapies. Several other approaches can be used to manage cancer pain. These include:
- Physical therapy
- Massage therapy
Supportive Care Is Important
Finally, cancer patients need to receive supportive care, as it can improve their quality of life and help them manage their symptoms. This is achieved by preventing or treating a disease’s earliest signs and symptoms. Supportive care includes things like regular assisted physical therapy, psychological support, and nutritional counseling. Cancer can be a devastating diagnosis, but there are several effective treatments available, like surgery, chemotherapy, immune therapy, and more.
Do Cancerous Tumors Hurt?
There are many different types of cancer, each with its own unique set of symptoms. Some types of cancer may not cause any pain at all, while others may cause only mild discomfort. But other types of cancer can be very painful.
Cancers that grow quickly or spread to other parts of the body are more likely to cause pain than those that grow slowly or stay localized in one area. Cancerous tumors can press on nerves or other sensitive structures in the body, causing pain. They can also release inflammatory mediators that cause inflammation, which can lead to pain.
What Does It Feel Like to Be on Chemotherapy?
It’s hard to say what it feels like to be on chemotherapy because it varies so much from person to person. Some people feel very sick and tired, while others only have mild side effects.
The main side effect of chemotherapy is fatigue. This can range from feeling a little bit tired all the time to not being able to get out of bed for days at a time. It’s important to listen to your body and rest when you need to. Another common symptom is nausea and vomiting. This can be controlled with medication, but some people still have a lot of trouble keeping food down.
Some other possible side effects include hair loss, mouth sores, and neuropathy (tingling or numbness in the hands and feet). These are all temporary and should go away once treatment is finished.
Dealing with Cancer Pain
Overall, cancer pain can be well managed in the majority of patients. With the right tools and strategies in place, it is possible to keep the pain under control. By following the tips in this article, you can manage your cancer pain and live a more comfortable life. If you are dealing with pain from cancer, there are many ways that you can find some relief. Contact Carolinas Pain Center today for a consultation.