Cancer or a tumour itself, methods of diagnosis and treatments given for it, are extremely painful. A tumor which compresses on bones, nerves and other organs, diagnosis ways like bone marrow aspiration, surgical interventions done for it, chemotherapy, radiation are the commonest factors which cause pain in a cancer pain. The main types of cancer pain include acute, chronic and break-through. Acute pain lasts for a small duration where chronic pain lasts for months to years. Breakthrough pain is severe and has an acute onset while a patient is on cancer drugs.
HOW IS CANCER PAIN DIAGNOSED?
The diagnosis of the pain can be done by an oncologist or the general surgeon. A particularly sharp pain may be examined with the help of an ultrasound or an MRI scan to check for any complications, while a milder pain will usually be checked with a physical examination.
HOW IS CANCER PAIN TREATED?
Pain relievers, are far more the most effective pharmacological intervention for cancer pain. The dosage and the strength of drugs can be adjusted according to the severity. Additionally, surgically interventions can be made to remove a part or whole of the tumour which causes pain. Surgery and radiation will help in this case. Nerve blocks are another mode of treatment used in cancer pain, which is due to the tumor compressing on nerves. An injection is directly injected to the nerve of the affected site and prevent pain signals being sent to brain. A short term pain relief will be achieved this way and other type of nerve blocks include, spinal anaesthesia and epidurals. Other methods used for cancer pain control include heat, cold ( ice packs) massage, exercise, physiotherapy, relaxing techniques like yoga and meditation and acupuncture.
DID YOU KNOW?
Phantom cancer pain is an imaginary pain that a patient imagines to be present in an organ that has been removed during cancer treatment.