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Prostate Cancer Pain: A Guide for You and Your Family

Having cancer does not always mean having pain. For those with pain, there are many different kinds of medicines, different ways to receive the medicine, and non-drug methods that can relieve the pain you may have. You should not accept pain as a normal part of having cancer. When you are free of pain, you can sleep and eat better, enjoy the company of family and friends, and continue with your work and hobbies.

Important Facts About Cancer Pain Treatment

Only you know how much pain you have. Telling your doctor and nurse when you have pain is important. Not only is pain easier to treat when you first have it, but pain can be an early warning sign of the side effects of the cancer or the cancer treatment. Together - you, your nurse, and your doctor - can talk about how to treat your pain. You have a right to pain relief, and you should insist on it.

Here are some facts about cancer pain that may help answer some of your questions.

1. Cancer pain can almost always be relieved.
 

There are many different medicines and methods available to control cancer pain. You should expect your doctor to seek all the information and resources necessary to make you as comfortable as possible. However, no one doctor can know everything about all medical problems. If you are in pain and your doctor suggests no other options, ask to see a pain specialist or have your doctor consult with a pain specialist. Pain specialists may be oncologists, anesthesiologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, other doctors, a palliative care team, nurses, or pharmacists. A pain control team may also include psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers.

If you have trouble locating a pain program or specialist, contact a cancer center, a hospice, or the oncology department at your local hospital or medical center. The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Cancer Information Service (CIS) and other organizations can give you a list of pain management facilities. The American Cancer Society (ACS) and other organizations may also be able to provide names of pain specialists, pain clinics, or programs in your area.

2. Controlling your cancer pain is part of the overall treatment for cancer.

Your doctor wants and needs to hear about what works and what doesn't work for your pain. Knowing about the pain will help your doctor better understand how the cancer and cancer treatment are affecting your body. Discussions about pain will not distract your doctor from treating the cancer.

3. Preventing pain from starting or getting worse is the best way to control it.

Pain is best relieved when treated early. You may hear some people refer to this as "staying on top" of the pain. Do not try to hold off as long as possible between doses of pain medicine. Pain may get worse if you wait, and it may take longer, or require larger doses of your medicine to give you relief.

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