Although cancer is a life-threatening condition, it does not always result in pain symptoms. One in three cancer patients experience some form of pain when treating their tumor, and that pain can be an additional layer of frustration in what is already a stressful time. This pain can manifest in many different ways, either being short and mild, long-term and severe, or a combination of the two. The cause of cancer pain can be just as diverse; determining how and why one is feeling this pain is vital in finding relief and making the treatment process proceed smoothly.
What Causes Cancer Pain?
There can be several different reasons for cancer pain. The following three are the most common.
- Pain From A Tumor: Tumors are concentrated inflammations that cause swelling to a part of the body. Their method of delivering pain is similar to that of a herniated or bulging disc as it presses down on an organ, bone, or nerve. Pain from a tumor does not depend on the size or severity of the tumor. A tumor can be small and relatively benign while still causing great pain due to how much it presses a sensitive nerve.
- Pain From Cancer Treatment: Conventional cancer treatments like radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery can result in pain. Most pain symptoms are often due to a suppressed immune system, which is a common side effect of such therapies.
How Can You Treat Cancer Pain?
Cancer pain is often treated through one of two methods: removing the source of pain entirely, or controlling the pain so it is manageable. Cancer pain is at its most dangerous when not addressed at all. Many patients do not mention feeling pain to their physician as they believe the pain from cancer or treatment is expected, but this is not the case. Tell your doctor in detail how you feel so you can work together for the best pain relief. This relief can significantly improve the results of cancer treatment.
The following are the most common ways to address cancer pain:
- Medication: About nine out of ten cancer patients relieve or manage their pain using a combination of medicines. What type of medications a patient needs depends on the severity of the pain. For example, mild pain can often be treated with light medication. Be sure to discuss with your doctor what medications would be best for you.
- Non-Drug Treatment: Your medical expert will often recommend non-drug treatments to compliment any medications you take. These procedures are often light, easy tasks to help reduce the stress associated with cancer. Massage, temperature packs, and breathing exercises are just some methods that doctors may recommend.
- Surgery: If a tumor is pressing on other body parts, a physical surgery may be best to remove part or all of the tumor to relieve the pain.
- Nerve Blocks: A nerve block can help relieve some discomfort. A nerve block is a type of injection that blocks pain signals sent from pressed body parts.
Cancer treatment is often one of the most difficult times in many patients’ lives. A pain treatment expert can help you find the relief you need as you begin the recovery process. Garden State Pain Center’s doctors have over 50 years of combined experiences helping people work through their pain symptoms. Set an appointment with us at one of our many offices in New Jersey to learn how we can help.