A patient diagnosed with cancer may not always have pain, but for those who experience cancer pain, it can change their quality of life. OPTIMAL Pain & Regenerative Medicine is proud to assist patients living in the Fort Worth, Arlington and Dallas, Texas area with cancer pain management.
Types of Cancer Pain
The first step to cancer pain management is determining the type of cancer pain present in the patient. The pain is divided into two categories – acute pain and chronic pain.
Acute pain can be severe but lasts a short amount of time, typically diminishing as the cancer or injury heals. Chronic pain can disrupt a patient’s life. Lasting longer than three months, chronic pain can range from mild to severe. Breakthrough pain is associated with chronic pain in certain patients. Breakthrough pain is characterized as cancer pain that flares up even when taking medications to alleviate chronic pain. The flare ups range in severity and cannot be predicted.
Causes of Cancer Pain
Cancer pain is often linked to the cancer itself. The level of pain is determined by the type of cancer, stage of cancer and the patient’s tolerance of pain.
Common causes of cancer pain include:
- Pain from the tumor: The majority of cancer pain occurs when the actual tumor presses on nerves, organs or bones.
- Pain from cancer treatment: Common cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can cause pain. These treatments often weaken the immune system and painful conditions can become more frequent.
- Pain after cancer surgery: Post-operative pain is normally characterized as acute, short term pain.
Cancer Pain Management
Cancer pain is treatable in most cases. It has been reported that 9 out of 10 patients can find pain relief with proper cancer pain management. It is critical for a patient to tell their physician and medical support team when they are in pain, the level of pain, when it started and how long the pain lasted. All of these items help determine the cause of pain and how to properly address the pain.
Cancer pain management is typically composed of a number of medications, ranging from general over the counter pain relievers to pain relievers developed for a specific area. Common medications include:
- Non-opiods for mild to moderate pain
- Opiods for moderate to severe pain
- Antidepressants and antiepileptics for tingling and burning pain
- Steroids for swelling
Physicians may also recommend non-drug treatments as part of a patient’s cancer pain management. Physical therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), nerve blocks and surgery are common treatment options for cancer patients.
If you would like to learn more about cancer pain and OPTIMAL Pain & Regenerative Medicine’s cancer pain management treatments, please contact a member of our team.