01 Nov Pain Management Of Cancer Pain
25 to 50 percent of cancer patients have pain at the time of their diagnosis, about 33 percent have pain during their treatment, and up to 75 percent of patients have pain as the cancer progresses. When you are dealing with cancer pain, it can change frequently so it is important that your doctor’s re-evaluate often to ensure your pain management is adequate. Cancer pain can be reduced and even eliminated.
Treatment of Cancer Pain
Most cancer patients will find pain relief through the use of analgesics (painkillers) but for some additional treatments will be necessary to help to control the pain. For example, chemotherapy, radiation or surgery reduce or eliminate the tumor, which lessens the pain.
Analgesics are the most common treatment for cancer pain and are made up of non-opioid and opioids medications.
Non-opioids include NSAIDs (i.e. diclofenac, naproxen, etc.) and are used to treat mild – moderate pain. It can also help with inflammation. Acetaminophen is also used and can help to reduce pain and is safe when taken at no more than the recommended dosages. Corticosteroids (i.e. prednisone, dexamethasone, etc.) are mainly used to reduce inflammation and swelling.
Opioids (i.e. morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, fentanyl, etc.) are used to treat moderate – severe pain. Pain management will access which medication will have the best results based on the patient. These medications inhibit pain impulse transmissions. There is what’s called a no ceiling effect, which means that pain relief can be accomplished with high enough dosages. In pain management using opioids, the optimal opioid dosage is the dosage that relieve pain without side effects that are intolerable.
Pill form is the preferred delivery route for opioids. However, subcutaneous injections (under the skin), intravenous (into the vein), infusions (medicine is constantly supplied), suppositories, infusion or skin patches.
If you suffer from constant cancer pain, pain management includes giving opioids regularly around the clock. When pain is kept under control, it is easier to manage. Opioids that are short acting are initially used by your doctor can determine your optimal daily dosage. After the optimum dosage is determined, your doctor may switch you to long acting pain formulas and use short acting opioids for breakthrough pain.
Other Pain Management Techniques
Blocking the transmission of pain impulses using a nerve block is one technique that is commonly used. It can also be done using an epidural analgesia or spinal analgesia. These are short relief methods but they are rapid and certainly can play an important role in your pain management protocol.
Other techniques include massage, biofeedback, medical marijuana, TENS, acupuncture, deep breathing, hypnotherapy, reflexology, and aromatherapy.
It is important that you don’t try to push through your pain. It’s important that a solid pain management plan be put into place to deal with your cancer pain. You need to be focused on beating your cancer and dealing with your treatments, not fighting pain. With the right pain management plan, it can have a positive effect on your overall treatment and on your emotional well being. Be honest with your physicians about your pain so that they can help you.