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James R. Egner, MD. Learn more. Save Preferences. Different things might work at different times, so it is important to try a variety of pain relief methods and persist in finding the best options for you. Sometimes pain cannot be completely controlled. You may still feel some discomfort.

However, your health professionals can help make you as comfortable as possible. If your pain persists, you can seek a second opinion or ask for a referral to a specialist pain management clinic. You can use different types of pain medicines whenever you feel any level of pain. If you have pain, it's better to get relief as soon as possible. This results in better pain control and less pain overall. If pain lasts longer than a few days without much relief, see your doctor for advice. It's important not to let the pain get out of control before doing something about it.

Your doctor will talk to you about how much medicine to take the dose and how often the frequency. The aim is for pain to be continuously controlled. Many people believe that they should delay using pain medicines for as long as possible, and that they should only get help when pain becomes unbearable. If you do this, it can mean you are in pain when you don't need to be.

There is no need to save pain medicines until your pain is severe. Severe pain can cause anxiety and difficulty sleeping. These things can make the pain harder to control. See Using pain medicines for more information. If the pain doesn't improve the first time you use a new pain relief method, try it a few more times before you give up. If you're taking medicine that doesn't seem to work or has stopped working, talk to your doctor - don't change the dose yourself. To "palliate" means to relieve. Palliative care aims to relieve symptoms of cancer without trying to cure the disease.

Pain management is only one aspect of palliative care. The palliative care team may include doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers, occupational therapists, psychologists and spiritual care practitioners. They work together to:. Your cancer specialist or nurse can put you in touch with a palliative care team for treatment in hospital or at home.

This type of care can improve quality of life from the time of diagnosis, and can be given alongside other cancer treatments. See our Understanding Palliative Care. Different health professionals work together to help manage your pain. Some of these professionals are listed below. They will often discuss treatment options at a multidisciplinary team MDT meeting.

If your pain is not well controlled, you may want to ask your GP or palliative care specialist for a referral to a pain medicine specialist who is experienced in cancer pain and part of a multidisciplinary pain clinic. MH van den Beuken-van Everdingen et al. Available from: who.

Call or email our experienced cancer nurses for information and support. Contact a cancer nurse.

Medical Ethics

Cancer Council Victoria would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work. We would also like to pay respect to the elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people. Children, teens and young adults. Aboriginal communities. Life after treatment. Sexuality and intimacy. Facing end of life. Caring for someone with cancer. Research ethics and guidelines. Cervical screening providers. Optimal Care Pathways. Community health. Clinical practice guides.

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Life after treatment

Become a corporate supporter. Shop online. Culturally diverse communities. Home Managing daily life Common side effects Overcoming cancer pain. Overcoming cancer pain Contents: Overview Describing pain Cancer treatments for pain relief Using pain medicines Treating mild pain Treating moderate to severe pain Other ways to control pain Caring for someone in pain Question checklist.


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What is pain? Your experience of pain Only you can describe your pain - it may be steady, burning, throbbing, stabbing, aching or pinching. Does everyone have cancer pain? Cancer pain is a broad term for the different kinds of pain people may experience when they have cancer.

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Some reasons for pain include: a tumour pressing on organs, nerves or bone a fracture if the cancer has spread to the bones side effects from surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy poor circulation due to blocked blood vessels blockage of an organ or tube in the body, such as the bowel infection or swelling and redness inflammation muscle stiffness from tension or inactivity poor posture which can lead to back pain, for example.

What types of pain are there? Acute pain Pain that starts suddenly and lasts a short time, possibly for a few days or weeks. Chronic pain Pain that lasts for three months or more. Breakthrough pain A flare-up of pain that can occur despite taking regular pain medicine. Nerve neuropathic pain Pain caused by pressure on nerves or the spinal cord, or by nerve damage. Bone pain Pain caused by cancer spreading to the bones and damaging bone tissue in one or more areas.

Soft tissue pain Pain caused by damage to or pressure on soft tissue, including muscle. Visceral pain Pain caused by damage to or pressure on internal organs. Referred pain Pain that is felt in an area of the body away from the cause of the problem e. Localised pain Pain that occurs directly where there's a problem e. Phantom pain A pain sensation in a body part that is no longer there, such as breast pain after the breast has been removed.

Doing hand stretches and exercises, and soaking my hands in warm water, helped. The doctors stopped that drug so the numbness wouldn't become permanent. Fatigue Extreme tiredness can make it harder for you to cope with pain. Emotions You may worry or feel easily discouraged when in pain. Environment Things and people in your environment - at home, at work and elsewhere - can have a positive or negative impact on your experience of pain.

Thoughts How you think about pain can influence how you experience the pain, e. How is cancer pain treated? There are many ways of managing both acute and chronic cancer pain, including: surgery, radiation therapy and drug therapies medicines specifically for pain interventions such as nerve blocks or spinal procedures such as epidurals other treatments , such as physiotherapy, psychological interventions and complementary therapies self-management strategies , such as pain management plans and goal setting.

When can I use pain medicines? Is palliative care the same as pain management? They work together to: maintain your quality of life by relieving physical symptoms support your practical, emotional, spiritual and social needs provide support to families and carers help you feel in control of your situation and make decisions about your treatment and ongoing care. Who helps manage my pain? Cancer treatments for pain relief. Using pain medicines.

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Treating mild pain. Treating moderate to severe pain.


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