During the treatment of cancer, the alleviation of pain and discomfort through relief treatments is also essential. The reduction of cancer pain can improve the quality of life, mood, and sleep of patients and increase their motivation and will power against the cancer.
Causes of Cancer Pain
There are many causes of cancer pain. Besides damage to the body tissues or blockage of the organs by a tumor, cancer metastasis, treatment, and inflammation in the body due to infection can cause pain as well. The pain and mood can have a significant impact on each other. Pain can affect mood and motivation which leads to a depressed state that makes the pain more obvious. This vicious circle not only affects the quality of sleep and appetite but also weakens the immune system. It can even have an impact on the effectiveness of the treatment which in turn, increases stress and pressure on family and caregivers.
Prescribed Painkillers According to the Needs of Patients
In most cases, appropriate prescribed painkillers can control the aforementioned discomforts effectively, including cancer-induced bone pain and neuralgia (nerve pain). However, some patients worry about the side effects or even the addictive effects of the painkillers and thus choose to endure the pain. In reality, patients will not become addicted to the painkillers as long as they take the exact amount of the painkillers on time and according to the prescription.
Different types of painkillers have different characteristics. For example, the dosage of morphine can be increased as needed. The effectiveness of the drug does not change by increased dosage and can even last up to 12 hours, thus reducing the chance of patients forgetting to take the pills. Doctors can reduce the side effects by adjusting the dosage and prescribing additional appropriate drugs. Therefore, patients can tell their oncologist about the cancer pain and their concerns about the medication so that the oncologist can prescribe the most appropriate cancer pain management plan.
Positive Attitude Helps Cancer Pain Management
A positive psychological state usually has a beneficial effect on the entire course of the treatment. Health care workers and the family should show empathy, acknowledgement and acceptance of a patient’s pain. They should also encourage the patient to face the cancer actively and maintain sincere communication, mutual trust and cooperation to support the cancer pain which can improve the quality of life for the patient.
Source: Dr Au Siu Kie, Specialist in Clinical Oncology at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Stubbs Road