Prostate Cancer Pain: A Guide for You and Your Family
Developing a Plan for Pain Control
The first step in developing a plan is talking with your doctor, nurse, and pharmacist about your pain. You need to be able to describe your pain to your health professionals as well as to your family or friends. You may want to have your family or friends help you talk with your health professionals about your pain control, especially if you are too tired or in too much pain to talk to them yourself.
Using a pain scale is helpful in describing how much pain you are feeling. For an example of a pain scale chart, you can print out and use, click here. Try to assign a number from 0 to 10 to your pain level. If you have no pain, use a 0. As the numbers get higher, they stand for pain that is getting worse. A 10 means the pain is as bad as it can be.
You may wish to use your own pain scale using numbers from 0 to 5 or even 0 to 100. Be sure to let others know what pain scale you are using, and use the same scale each time, for example, "My pain is a 7 on a scale of 0 to 10."
You can use a rating scale to describe:
- How bad your pain is at its worst
- How bad your pain is most of the time
- How bad your pain is at its least
- How your pain changes with treatment
Tell your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, and family or friends:
- Where you feel pain
- What it feels like - sharp, dull, throbbing, steady
- Where the pain moves to
- When the pain is at its worst
- What causes the pain
- How strong the pain feels
- How long it lasts
- What eases the pain, what makes the pain worse
- What medicines you are taking for the pain and how much relief you get from them
Your doctor, nurse, and pharmacist may also need to know:
- What medicines you are taking now and what pain medicines you have taken in the past, especially what has worked and not worked. You may want to record this information on the charts, "Medicines Taking Now" and "Pain Medicines Taken in the Past" (these are included in the Pain Chart noted above).
- Any known allergies to medicines.
Questions to ask your doctor or nurse about pain medicine:
- How much medicine should I take?
- How often should I take the medicine?
- If my pain is not relieved, can I take more medicine?
- Should the dose be increased? By how much? Should I call you before increasing the dose?
- What if I forget to take the medicine or take it too late?
- Should I take my medicine with food?
- How much liquid should I drink with the medicine?
- How long does it take the medicine to start working (called "onset of action")?
- Is it safe to drink alcoholic beverages, drive, or operate machinery after I have taken pain medicine?
- What other medicines can I take with the pain medicine?
- What side effects from the medicine are possible and how can I prevent them?