Facts about Cancer
Pain can keep patients from sleeping, being active, eating and enjoying family and friends. It can also make them feel scared, depressed or anxious. Cancer pain can come from the treatment; cancer tumor itself pressing against bone, nerves or body organs; or from conditions unrelated to cancer, such as headaches, arthritis and muscle strain. It can happen suddenly (acute pain) or continuously over a long period of time (chronic pain).
Pain management can include surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. If these procedures are not recommended, pain-relief methods are used, including medications and relaxation techniques.
Many medications are used to treat cancer pain. Although some patients may experience side effects with certain drugs, there are often ways to minimize these side effects. The doctor and pharmacist can provide more specific information about pain medications.
Acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen - Used for mild to moderate pain. Many are available without a prescription.
Opioids – Used for moderate to severe pain. Available only by prescription.
Antidepressants and Anticonvulsants - Used for tingling and burning pains associated with cancer. Taking them does not mean you are suffering from depression or convulsions. Available only by prescription.
Steroids – Particularly effective for pain caused by swelling. Available only by prescription.