Cancer pain takes many forms. It can be dull, achy, sharp or burning. It can be constant, intermittent, mild, moderate or severe. How much pain one feel depends on a number of factors, including the type of cancer one is having, how advanced it is, where it’s situated and pain tolerance capacity.
Cancer pain is mainly because of the cancer, which causes the tissue damage in local areas, cancer pain is become severe when the cancer is spread to other part of the body. In many cases the cancer pain is due to the treatment process we follow for cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy etc.
However, up to 95% of cancer pain can be treated successfully. Untreated pain can make other aspects of cancer seem worse. Irrespective of the cause of the pain, there are certain treatment procedure to reduce the pain and eradicate the pain from your body. In medical science there is a specialization called pain and palliative care; these pain and palliative care physicians are capable enough to handle the treatment of pain, it may be due to cancer or any other chronic pain.
Since last ten years, Dr. Shovan Kumar Rath is practicing Pain Management at Pain Free Odisha, Bhubaneswar and trying to help much people for eradicating and managing their chronic pain.
Causes of Cancer pain
Here in this section lets know the details about the cause of pain. Pain can come from the tumor itself, the cancer treatment, or causes unrelated to cancer. A good pain treatment plan will take care of pain from all causes.
A tumor growing in an organ, such as the liver, may stretch part of the organ. This stretching causes pain. If a tumor grows and spreads to the bones or other organs, it may put pressure on nerves and damage them, causing pain. Or if a tumor spreads or grows around the spinal cord, it can compress the spinal cord. This eventually leads to severe pain or paralysis if not treated.
It is normal to experience pain from cancer surgery. Most pain, which caused by surgery goes away after a while. But some people may have pain that lasts for months or years. This long-lasting pain can be from permanent damage to the nerves and the development of scar tissue. This kind of pain need intervention of a pain physician.
Pain may develop after radiation therapy and go away on its own. It can also develop months or years after radiation therapy to some parts of the body, such as the chest, breast, or spinal cord.
Some chemotherapy can cause pain and numbness in the fingers and toes, called peripheral neuropathy. Usually this pain goes away when treatment is finished. But sometimes the damage is permanent.
People with cancer can still have pain from other causes. These include migraines, arthritis, or chronic low back pain. The treatment plan your health care team develops with you should include these kinds of pain. Any pain decreases your quality of life.
Diagnosing Cancer pain
The patient himself/herself knows about the pain best. It is very important to discuss about any new symptoms or any change in symptoms with your doctor or a pain physician. The pain management doctor can help you better and follow a pain relief treatment method which works better for you.
To help your doctor better understand your pain, he or she may ask the following questions:
- Where does it hurt?
- When does the pain stop and start?
- How long has the pain been there?
- How much pain are you having on a scale of 0 to 10?
- What does the pain feel like, in your own words? For example, is it burning, stabbing, throbbing, or aching?
Treatment Plan for Cancer Pain
When it comes to treatment of cancer pain, doctors follow many ways for managing this. Medication can be helpful for managing and treating the cancer pain. You have to take medicines orally for this. There are also some patches which you need to put on your body, that can lasts for seven days and keep you pain free. Sometimes doctors prescribe higher groups of opiods and morphine etc. These medications helps in numbing the nerve or reduce the pain carrying capacity of the nerve, which helps the patients in reducing the pain.
If any medication process didn’t work in controlling the cancer pain there are several intervention methods we follow at Pain Free Odisha, such as we block the nerve or perform intervention.
Suppose patients having cancer in gallbladder, stomach, pancreases, liver, lower end of esophagus are often prone to feel pain in upper abdomen, in this cases we perform celiac plexus block. This prevents celiac plexus nerves from sending pain messages to the brain. It’s a type of nerve block. In case of pain in lower abdomen we also reduce the pain by intervention that is Hypogastric Plexus Block. A hypogastric plexus block is a treatment where medications are injected onto a bundle of nerves near the bottom of your spine. When these nerves, called the hypogastric plexus, are blocked, they stop carrying information about pain in your pelvic area. These kind of pain relief treatments are delivered by injection.