November 12, 2021
Cancer pain occurs when cancer grows into nearby tissues or when it destroys them. As the tumor grows, it can negatively affect nerves, organs, or bones. Chemicals released by cancer can also cause pain.
TYPES OF CANCER PAIN
- Nerve pain: Commonly called neuropathic pain, is caused by damage to the nerves, pressure to the nerve, or pressure on the spinal cord. Some people have nerve pain after surgery because nerves are cut during surgery and they heal slowly.
- Bone pain: Cancer can damage bone tissue and cause pain. Bone pain is also known as somatic pain and it is often described as aching, throbbing, or dull. Treatment can focus on controlling cancer or protecting the bones that are affected. External radiation can be used to treat bones that have weakened and bisphosphonate drugs can make bones stronger and keep them from breaking.
- Soft tissue pain: This is pain from a muscle or body organ. Soft tissue pain is visceral and is often described as sharp, aching, cramping, or throbbing.
- Phantom pain: This is pain from a part of the body that has already been removed. An example is the pain after a mastectomy.
- Referred pain: Sometimes people feel pain from a part of their body in a different part of their body. For example, a person with a swollen liver can feel pain in their shoulder.
The amount of pain experienced while in the thrall of cancer depends on the type of cancer, where it is, the stage of cancer, and if the treatment damages nerves. Other factors include anxiety and depression.
The type of pain that a cancer patient experiences influences the treatment choice. Factors to be considered include the location of the pain, the severity of the pain, the type of pain, what triggers the pain, current medication, how the medication eases the pain, and the impact of the pain on the lifestyle of the patient.
People respond differently to different kinds of pain-killing medication and pain relief can come in the form of aspirin-like drugs such as pleurisy, paracetamol, and opioids like morphine or codeine.
Ways to relieve cancer through medication include:
- Regularly taking your medication
- Knowing your medication better.
- Having an up-to-date record of your medication
- Having enough medication
TREATING CANCER PAIN
Handling cancer pain effectively is possible but you should know that the pain will not be completely relieved. The effective management of cancer pain and its symptoms can improve the well-being of cancer patients. Note that the sour tsunami strain can be used to relieve cancer pain
Cancer pain can also be treated through the following approaches:
- The partial or full removal of cancer: Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy are ways in which some or all cancer can be eliminated. These provide relief from pain.
- Palliative surgery: These surgeries are performed to reduce pain and improve the quality of life of cancer patients. Surgeries can prevent or control complications such as bowel obstruction, compression of organs or the spinal cord, and compression of nerves.
- Anesthetic and pharmacologic approach: These medications are given based on the needs and preferences of the individual. The delivery methods include swallowing, an injection, absorption through the skin, and insertion of the medication into the rectum.
- Adjuvant analgesics: These drugs provide pain relief in certain situations such as tingling, burning sensation, and inflammation.
- Nerve blocks: These can provide short-term relief and are used for acute, postoperative, and chronic pain problems.
- Neurosurgical approaches: Neurosurgery can reduce cancer pain. A procedure called Cordotomy disables the nerves in the spinal cord that conduct pain-impulses to the brain.
- Psychological approaches: This approach can be effectively used to manage pain. Psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and structured support can be used to help people cope with this pain.
Cancer pain is untreated on many occasions and factors that can lead to this are:
- The reluctance of some people to talk about their pain.
- The fear of side effects.
- Some doctors are reluctant to talk about cancer pain or offer its treatments.
- The fear of addiction to opioids.
In a nutshell, the management of cancer pain is tailored to the affected individual as the response to pain and treatments are different amongst individuals.
Thank you to Alex K for contributing this article.