How is cancer pain managed?
Pain control often
starts with medicine. Many drugs are used to treat pain. You and your doctor
may need to adjust your medicine as your pain changes. Your doctor may suggest
different drugs, combinations of drugs, or higher doses.
tumor that causes pain, removing or destroying all or part of the tumor, if
possible, often helps. Doctors use
radiation, surgery, and other treatments to do this.
For nerve pain, doctors may use nerve blocks. With a nerve block, medicine is injected right into the nerve that affects the painful area.
They provide short-term pain relief by preventing the nerve from sending pain
signals. Or sometimes medicine is delivered directly to the spine, as with spinal anesthesia or an epidural.
are many other ways to control cancer pain, including:
Older adults are at risk for not getting enough pain medicine. If you are a caregiver for an older adult who has cancer,
talk with that person to make sure that the pain is under control. Talk with the person's doctor, too, about a pain
Learning as much as you can about your pain may help.
Talking to a counselor can help you manage your cancer pain or the discomfort from cancer treatments. Emotional support from your friends and family may also help.
What is a pain control diary?
This is a record of
your pain treatment and how it helped or did not help you. You can write down
when you used each treatment, how it worked, and any side effects it caused.
Having it written down helps you let your health care team know exactly how
well your treatment is working.
Will you get addicted to pain medicine?
Many people who take pain medicine worry about getting
addicted. Addiction to pain medicine is rare if you have not had a problem with
addiction in the past and you take your medicine as directed under your
doctor's care. When you no longer need these medicines, your doctor will slowly lower the amount you are getting until your body no longer needs the medicine.
Do not let your fear about becoming addicted get in
the way of pain relief. Ask for pain relief if you need it. Pain is easier to
control when you treat it as soon as it starts. You may also be able to predict
pain and treat it before it begins, such as before physical activity. Pain is
harder to control if you wait until it is bad.