3 Tips For Developing A Cancer Pain Treatment Plan

Contrary to popular belief, having cancer does not automatically mean that you will experience pain. However, if you are in pain due to the cancer or its treatment, there are non-medical and medical options available to you to help alleviate it. It is important to explore pain control options with your oncologist. To help develop a plan to treat pain, here are some tips. 

Understand the Type of Pain You Are Experiencing

Not all pain is the same. As part of developing a plan to alleviate your pain, your oncologist will evaluate the source of your pain and what type of pain it is. There are three types of pain that are most common.  

Acute pain is a short-lived, severe pain that usually surfaces in areas that are most impacted by the cancer. By contrast, chronic pain is usually constant and can vary from mild to severe. Breakthrough pain can be mild to severe and occurs even though you are receiving treatment for pain. The length of time that it lasts can vary.  

Know How to Talk About Your Pain

When talking to your oncologist, you need to help him or her understand the pain so that he or she can identify the treatment method that will work best for you. Different pain types and experiences require different treatment. For instance, chronic pain that is severe is more likely to be treated with the help of opioids, while irregular pain that is short-lived might be treated with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. 

When discussing your pain, it is important to go beyond rating the intensity on a scale. You also need to talk about its location, how it feels, and how long it lasts. If there are at-home treatments you have tried to ease the pain, let your oncologist know.  

Some people opt to keep a pain diary that they can refer to when talking to the oncologist. If you do, be sure to note the date and time of each occurrence of pain.  

Talk to Your Doctor About Your Fears

Unfortunately, some people do not receive the pain relief they need because they are afraid of various factors. To help deal with those fears, it is important to talk to your oncologist.  

For instance, if you have a fear of becoming addicted to pain medication, your doctor can regularly monitor your usage and even reassess the medication that you are using to determine if it would safer to opt for a different pain control method.