Pain from cancer itself is common, but not the only pain cancer patients must endure. Cancer treatment can inflict unbearable pain as well. Pain experts separate the type of pain into four major categories: procedure and testing pain, surgical pain, phantom pain, and pain from chemotherapy and radiation.
Procedure and Testing Pain
The initial cancer diagnostic tests and exams can be painful, and so can follow-up tests used to assess the efficiency of treatment. The pain a cancer patient experiences during and after treatment can be easily treated through medication. The type of drugs needed varies depending on the kind of procedure. It isn’t unlikely for test administrators to tell the patient that the pain is necessary and is unlikely to last long. Many healthcare professionals suggest that cancer patients still request pain medication if they believe it is needed.
Surgery is often necessary for cancers that grow as solid tumors. The type and amount of pain vary depending on the particular surgical procedure. Patients are administered medication to combat post-surgery pain, but persisting pain is not uncommon. It can often last anywhere between a few days and a couple of weeks.
A possible longer-lasting effect of surgery is phantom pain. This type of pain goes beyond typical surgical pain as it results from the removal of a body part. Someone who has had a leg, arm, or breast removed as a cancer treatment procedure is likely to experience an unexplainable, unpleasant sensation coming from the amputated body part. Doctors have yet to understand why this happens, but it is a real feeling. Many pain relief methods have been used to treat phantom pain, but there is no single effective method.
Chemotherapy and Radiation Pain
Unwavering pain is also a side-effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. This pain can become so intense that patients sometimes refuse treatment to avoid having to endure it. Specific examples of cancer treatment pain include:
Peripheral Neuropathy (PN)
Peripheral neuropathy is a result of nerve damage from particular types of chemotherapy. The afflicted patient may experience tingling, numbness, burning, clumsiness, weakness, and problems walking. Unusual sensations in legs, feet, arms, and hands have been reported as well.
Chemotherapy has also resulted in pain in the mouth and throat. Such pain can make it difficult to eat, drink, and even speak.
External radiation treatment can result in skin burns, mouth sores, and scarring. Pain in the throat, bladder, and intestine is also a common effect of radiation treatment.
Cancer patients who experience unrelenting pain should have it looked at by a New Jersey pain expert. Garden State Pain Control offers minimally invasive pain treatment options for cancer patients. Request an appointment at one of our multiple New Jersey offices today to have your chronic back pain assessed.