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Cancer Pain Management: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Cancer is a group of diseases that involve abnormal cell growth, in one area of the body, which may spread to other parts of the body. The cells may divide abnormally in any part of the body and destroy the body tissue. Lung cancer, breast cancer, thyroid cancer, throat cancer and prostate cancer are some of the many types of cancers. With the constant advancement in technology, there are several treatments available to cure cancer but going through cancer can be extremely painful for your body. The cancer grows and destroys the nearby tissue along with pressing on the nerves, bones and other organs of your body. The cancer may also release chemicals that cause acute pain. Sometimes, the treatments of cancer like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can also cause pain. There are many ways to get relief from cancer pain including medications and therapies.

How is the treatment done?

You must consult a doctor if you are experiencing cancer pains and not wait for them to subside on their own. Your doctor may prescribe some over the counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen. If your pains are severe, medications like morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, methadone or oxymorphone may be prescribed. These medications may come in the form of pills, liquids or may even have to be taken as shots in veins or under the skin. Depending on your condition, you may also have to consume anti seizure drugs, antidepressants and steroids. There is another treatment to cure cancer pains called nerve block. A local anaesthesia is injected in or around a nerve creating a block. This block prevents the pain messages to reach the brain.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

If you have had treatment for cancer and are experiencing pains in the areas where the tissues have grown abnormally, you must consult a doctor and get your pains treated.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

If your cancer pains are mild, heavy medications are not recommended. You might end up getting addicted to the medications. Only when the cancer pains become intolerable should you go for medications.

Are there any side effects?

You may experience mild headache, nausea, sleepiness, redness or irritation in skin after taking the medications. Nerve block treatment may leave your nerves feeling stiff for some time. There is nothing to be concerned about. It is very normal to go through this after the medications.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

You must keep a very good care of your diet. Make sure that you are having nutritious meals filled with fruits, vegetables, cereals and dairy products. Exercise regularly to maintain your body weight and do not indulge in any unhealthy practices like smoking tobacco and consuming alcohol.

How long does it take to recover?

The recovery time from cancer pains depends on the severity of your condition. The medications may continue for lifelong if you have been through a serious case of cancer.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of treatment will depend on the cost of medications prescribed by your doctor. An aspirin can cost between ₹15 - ₹20. Morphine may cost ₹40 - ₹45 per ml. The cost of ibuprofen may be between ₹10 - ₹ 15.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

No treatment for cancer is permanent. If you do not take proper care of your body, it will return and so will the pains.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Therapies like acupuncture, acupressure, massage, physical therapies and meditation are known to help in relieving cancer pains.

Popular Questions & Answers

Respected doctor in ref to my earlier query the CT scan report shows that actually the cancer is in area of pancreas and from that place it struck to liver and doctors has told us that it is the last stage but the patient is taking proper diet and there is not a single sign of jaundice or fever but only patient is losing the weight as he loses 22 kg in one month is there any therapy or medicine by which we can enhance their life to some extent.

M. Sc. Foods, Nutrition & Dietetics, B.Sc-Home Science
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Visakhapatnam
Yes, in this case there is a tendency of losing weight. He needs to consume high quality proteins or supplements also if necessary to compensate with daily protein requirement as their appetite reduces. Egg whites, soya or normal milk, nutty shake...

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