Living With Cancer Pain: How to Manage It


Cancer pain is a significant aspect of the disease that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Understanding the causes and treatment options for cancer-related pain is crucial for patients and their loved ones to navigate this challenging journey. In this article, we will explore the various factors that contribute to cancer pain, the importance of effective communication with healthcare providers, common treatment approaches, and alternative or complementary therapies available. By gaining knowledge about cancer pain and its management, individuals can take proactive steps to ensure they receive adequate pain relief to enhance their daily life.

What Causes Cancer Pain?

The tumor itself may press on and irritate the nerves, resulting in pain in the affected area. Additionally, it can cause radiating pain and increased discomfort. Another reason for cancer pain may be from radiation treatment. Side effects from chemotherapy or some other medicines can also lead to sensations like burning or other discomfort. Surgery can result in persistent pain for about 40% of patients even after the cancer is cured. Chronic pain remains a significant problem for many patients undergoing cancer treatment, despite advancements in cancer treatment itself.

Why Is My Cancer So Painful?

It's important to investigate the underlying cause of cancer-related pain. In many cases, it is necessary to consult a pain specialist for a comprehensive evaluation. A detailed personal history, physical examination, and potentially diagnostic nerve blocks or additional tests can help determine the reasons for the type of pain being experienced in patients with cancer pain. Treatment options are available, so it's crucial to address and explore your severe pain.

The Cancer Painful

Is Cancer Pain Curable?

For some patients, cancer pain can indeed be curable through effective treatment measures. However, in the majority of cases, the focus is on controlling and managing the pain rather than achieving a complete cure. It is important to note that even after successful cancer treatment, approximately 4 out of 10 individuals may still experience pain. Managing cancer-related pain is of utmost priority, and fortunately, there exists a wide range of tools, therapies, and treatments that can significantly contribute to achieving this goal and improving the overall quality of life.

What Steps Can You Take to Ensure You Receive Adequate Cancer Pain Treatment?

The key is effective communication with your pain provider, oncologist, or primary care doctor. Explain what you're experiencing and don't hesitate to discuss your concerns openly and be honest about your pain level. Providing a detailed history and description of your or your loved one's cancer-related pain is vital to improving their quality of life. Different types and presentations of pain require exploration and a personalized approach for the best possible outcome.

How Can You Help Your Doctor Understand Your Cancer Pain?

Open and honest communication is crucial when it comes to effectively managing your cancer pain. It is essential to openly express and explain your experiences in detail to your healthcare provider. By providing comprehensive information about your pain, you can help them gain a better understanding of your situation. Additionally, be prepared to explore your pain further through additional studies, diagnostic tests, or even nerve blocks, if necessary. Through transparent communication, your doctor will be better equipped to offer appropriate cancer treatment options tailored to your specific needs.

Cancer Doctor Pain

What Are Some Reasons for Not Receiving Adequate Treatment for Cancer Pain?

There are several factors that can contribute to this issue. Firstly, the stigma surrounding pain may lead patients to withhold or downplay their pain, fearing the judgment of their loved ones. Cultural influences and other personal factors may also play a role. It's important to openly discuss and share your experiences with your doctor or loved ones.

Additionally, the fear of medication side effects can prevent patients from reporting their cancer-related pain, but this concern can be addressed through open conversations with healthcare providers. Fear of addiction to opioids or other controlled substances is another common reason for inadequate medical treatment.

However, with appropriate management, including dose adjustments and medication rotation, the risk of addiction can be significantly reduced. It's essential to address these concerns openly and seek additional expertise, such as pain psychology, when needed, to ensure effective pain management.

What Are Common Cancer Pain Treatments?

The primary approach is pain medicines, with various options available. Anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce inflammation associated with cancer pain. Pain medications specifically targeting nerve pain, such as membrane stabilizers and certain antidepressants, can effectively decrease nerve firing.

Opioid pain relievers are commonly used for cancer-related pain, but the choice of medication should be carefully evaluated. Nerve blocks, corticosteroid injections, and oral treatments are also potential options. Physical rehabilitation and pain psychology techniques like biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy are important aspects of comprehensive treatment.

Alternative treatments like massage, acupuncture, and even surgery can be beneficial in certain cases. The key is to find the most suitable treatment or combination of treatments for each individual and their type of cancer.

What Should You Do When Medication is Not Enough to Adequately Relieve Your Pain?

It's crucial to communicate with your primary care doctor, oncologist, or pain management specialist about the situation. Share your concerns and seek additional options. You shouldn't face this alone, so don't hesitate to bring it up with your healthcare providers and explore further investigations. With proper evaluation, there's a good chance that alternative treatments or adjustments to your current treatment plan can provide relief and improved pain management.

Cancer Medication

What Are Alternative or Complementary Cancer Pain Treatments?

This is an area that is rapidly developing, offering a range of options. Complementary therapies and non-drug treatments like physical rehabilitation, massage, acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, Reiki, and animal-assisted therapy, such as using service dogs, are among the available options. Additional techniques, including herbal medicines, transcutaneous treatments, a variety of creams, and electrical stimulation, can also be considered.

However, it's important to find the right approach or combination of approaches that work best for you or your loved one. Consulting health professionals who specialize in pain management can help guide you toward the most effective options tailored to your specific needs.

Pain Medicine at Western Reserve Hospital — 100% Patient Centered Pain Treatment

You don’t have to suffer from cancer pain. At the Center for Pain Medicine at Western Reserve Hospital we provide the latest innovations in cancer pain treatment.
When chronic pain sets in, your life shrinks to fit your pain. Your health, work, and relationships suffer. You become less present in your daily activities. Often, you cannot sleep or suffer from depression. Living with chronic pain is hard, and the anxiety, stress, and anger that accompany it can make the pain even worse. The pain specialists at the Center for Pain Medicine at Western Reserve Hospital can help you conquer your pain with sophisticated new treatments and compassionate, professional care. Contact us at (330) 971-7246​ to schedule an appointment and begin the journey to pain relief today.