Cancer treatment can come with side effects and Comprehensive Cancer Centers offers tips for pain management.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers understands that cancer treatment can result in discomfort, but there are options for providing comfort and support. If you are experiencing pain, tell your team at Comprehensive about it, sparing no details. You are the only person who knows exactly how much pain you are feeling.
The practice offers the following tips to help you better manage pain, while closely working with your care team to stay healthy physically, mentally and emotionally.
Keep a Pain Diary
Documenting what’s going on with your pain can help you gain control and provide your physicians with the most specific details possible. Writing about the pain you feel can help your cancer care team come up with the best pain management plan for you:
- Describe the pain in descriptive words such as dull, sharp, throbbing, burning or shooting. Don’t feel like you’re being a problem or high-maintenance with pain, share every word that comes to mind.
- Include details on what eases the pain. If medicines help, note which ones you’re taking and how often, and how well they work.
- Rate your pain, using a 0 to 10 rating scale (0 = no pain; 10 = worst pain) with notations on when pain is: A. At its worst. B. At its best. C. How pain is most of the time.
The following offers some tips for getting going and being successful with keeping a diary.
Talk to Your Health Care Team
The physicians and advanced care providers at Comprehensive Cancer Centers are united in their mission to get you through your treatment successfully, and this includes managing pain.
Talk to your medical team about the pain you experience and find out your options for pain relief. Always let everyone on your team (doctors and family) know about any new or worsening pain. New and changing pain might be a sign that the cancer has spread, an infection has started, or that there are problems with your cancer treatment. If your pain medicine does not provide enough relief, talk to your doctor. He or she may prescribe a different drug, change drugs or dosages.
If part of your pain challenges come from not getting enough sleep, the team at Sleep Center at Comprehensive can help find solutions.
Opioid Medications for Cancer Pain
Opioid medicines are used to treat moderate to severe pain. Short-acting opioids relieve breakthrough pain quickly, while long-acting or extended-release opioids work continuously over a longer period. Common side effects from opioids are fatigue, constipation, and nausea and vomiting. If you experience these or other side effects, tell your health care team and ask for help managing them. Safe use of opioids is a priority for your care team, which includes working to avoid issues with abuse of the medications. Physicians at Comprehensive may also refer you to a pain management specialist.
Non-Opioid Medications for Cancer Pain
Non-opioids can help control mild to moderate pain and can sometimes be bought over the counter without a prescription. These medicines, which include acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are more effective at controlling pain than some realize. In addition, different types of medicines, including antidepressants, antihistamines and even steroids, can be used along with (or instead of) opioids and non-opioids to help relieve cancer pain.
If you use vitamins, herbs, or other supplements you get at the drug store, be sure to include them in your tracking efforts. Document all of them and let your Comprehensive Cancer oncologist know about them. Even though they’re not prescriptions, and are even touted as natural or organic, they may have side effects or cause issues with other medications you may also be using.
Learn About Non-Medical Treatments for Pain
Non-medical treatments can help treat cancer pain and can be used along with pain medicines, or alone for pain or discomfort. Talk to your cancer care team, who may refer you to social workers, physical therapists, psychologists, nurses or others to help you learn these techniques. Ask your family or friends for help, too. These non-medical treatments can include acupuncture, biofeedback, counseling and even hypnosis.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of options for cancer care including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, as well as clinical research for the treatment of cancer. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.
The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.