What is Cancer Pain?
Often, pain can be part of having cancer. This pain can further disrupt daily life by preventing you from getting restful sleep, limiting your abilities, and even reducing your appetite. There is no need, however, to suffer in silence. There are various treatments available to manage from the mildest to the most severe forms of cancer pain.
The way cancer develops and affects us varies from person to person. Some people may experience no pain but must do. And while common, pain is often underreported due to fear of addiction, side effects, and being perceived as a nuisance. Having an open line of communication with your provider is crucial in managing your pain successfully, and that is what our team aims to achieve.
Cause of Cancer Pain
As cancer advances and tumors grow, they begin to pressure organs, tissue, bones, and nerves, causing pain. Additionally, these tumors can secrete chemicals that harm the area surrounding them, triggering further pain and discomfort. Aggressive cancer treatments and procedures such as radiation and chemotherapy are can also cause aching and numbness. People with cancer may also experience pain from conditions that are not directly tied to tumors. Migraines, back pain, and arthritis are other common sources of pain that can coincide with cancer. Untreated pain can also worsen certain symptoms, such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of sleep
- Nausea & vomiting
Cancer Pain Diagnosis & Treatment
To accurately diagnose cancer pain, it is necessary to keep track of new or worsening symptoms, the frequency in which they occur, and their severity. Noting where the pain is located and how it fees (ex: burning, throbbing) can also help our team best identify and treat your condition. Depending on the type, location, and severity of the pain, treatment options may vary but commonly include the following.
Surgery: This procedure involves removing the source of pain, which oftentimes comes in the form of a tumor.
Radiation & Chemotherapy: These treatments also aim at killing the cancer cells through drugs and high-energy cells.
Over the Counter & Prescription Painkillers: If removing the source is not feasible, physicians may recommend or prescribe painkillers such as Advil, Tylenol, Motrin, among others.
Opioids: Physicians may also prescribe weak or strong opioids to treat more severe levels of pain. Codeine, morphine, and oxycodone are some of the most commonly prescribed.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Cancer Pain Specialists
Medications for pain management can be administered in different ways. Some drugs and injectable, while others come in the form of tablets or capsules. Patches and suppositories are also available. Our team of experts is here to help outline the best pain management plan for your specific condition. We offer a variety of effective treatments that can assist in providing relief and significantly improving your quality of life.