Dealing with Cancer Pain

Cancer is something no one can wish even on their worst enemy. At times it is painful and at times there is no pain but if there is then there is medication that a medical doctor would prescribe to help offer relief. The kind of pain medication that is administered is dependent on the type of pain.

Having cancer does not always mean having pain. But if you do have pain, there are many different kinds of medicines, different ways to take the medicines, and non-drug methods that can help relieve it.

Pain can affect all parts of your life. If you have pain, you might not be able to take part in your normal day-to-day activities. You may have trouble sleeping and eating. You may be irritable with the people you love. It’s easy to get frustrated, sad, and even angry when you’re in pain. Family and friends don’t always understand how you’re feeling, and you may feel very alone.

You should never accept pain as a normal part of having cancer. All pain can be treated, and most pain can be controlled or relieved. When pain is controlled, people can sleep and eat better, enjoy being with family and friends, and continue with their work and hobbies.

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There are different types of cancer pain. There is acute pain which is the kind of pain that comes and goes and increase over time. Chronic pain is that pain that never goes and can last for months. You should talk to your doctor about your pain and describe so that they can know how to help you relieve it.

  1. Somatic Pain: The Site of Pain Cannot be Pinpointed—A Dull, Achy Feeling
    Somatic pain is the result of activity by pain receptors in the deep tissues of the body, or on the surface. An example of deep tissue pain would be that of cancer that has spread to the bone. The site of pain cannot be pinpointed, and has a dull, achy feeling. An example of surface pain is pain at a surgical incision site. People describe this pain as being sharp, and possibly have a burning sensation.

    2. Neuropathic Pain: Caused by Damage to the Nervous System—Burning or Tingling
    Neuropathic pain is the most severe of the three types of pain. It is often described as a burning or tingling sensation. It is caused by injury to the nervous system. The injury can include a tumor putting pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

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One out of three cancer patients experience pain. There are ways in which the pain can be dealt with so that the patient is not overwhelmed. The patient can be given pain relievers or they can undergo certain types of therapy. At times the pain can only be gotten rid of by removing the cancer.

There are many different ways to treat cancer pain. One way is to remove the source of the pain, for example, through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or some other form of treatment. If that can’t be done, pain medications can usually control the pain. These medications include:

Over-the-counter and prescription-strength pain relievers, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others)
Weak opioid (derived from opium) medications, such as codeine
Strong opioid medications, such as morphine (Avinza, Ms Contin, others), oxycodone (Oxycontin, Roxicodone, others), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo), fentanyl (Actiq, Fentora, others), methadone (Dolophine, Methadose) or oxymorphone (Opana)
These drugs can often be taken orally, so they’re easy to use. Medications may come in tablet form, or they may be made to dissolve quickly in your mouth. However, if you’re unable to take medications orally, they may also be taken intravenously, rectally or through the skin using a patch.

Specialized treatment, such as nerve blocks, also may be used. Nerve blocks are a local anesthetic that is injected around or into a nerve, which prevents pain messages traveling along that nerve pathway from reaching the brain.

Other therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure, massage, physical therapy, relaxation, meditation and humor may help.

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