Cancer and pain

It is not uncommon for people with cancer to rub shoulders with pain. Is it a must to wear this pain on his shoulders throughout the illness? The answer is: “Absolutely not! There are effective treatments to free you from it.

PAIN: BETTER UNDERSTANDING TO BETTER CONTROL IT

After the shock of learning that you have cancer, you have decided to lift your sleeves and win the fight of your life. Several questions and worries swirl in your head. The fear of pain is one of them. Rest assured: nowadays, we know a lot better about the different facets of cancer pain. In addition, there are a large number of drugs that can come to your rescue.

SEVERAL FACTORS CAN INFLUENCE PAIN, IN THIS CASE:

  • age;
  • the stage of the disease;
  • the type of cancer;
  • the treatment received;
  • emotions such as sadness, stress and fear;
  • tiredness;
  • the support of the entourage.

The pain may be felt as a feeling of pressure, burning or tingling. Depending on how you feel, the health professional will have a hint of where the pain is. For example, if you feel pressure, it is very likely that the pain comes from an organ. In contrast, if you feel tingling or burning, it is probably the nerves of the nervous system that are affected. The pain may be short-lived or present throughout the illness.

WHAT CAUSES THE PAIN?

TO TREAT YOUR PAIN WELL, IT IS ESSENTIAL TO KNOW THE CAUSE. THERE ARE SEVERAL OF THEM:

  • invasion of tissues and bones by the tumor;
  • compression of the nerves or blood vessels by the tumor or the inflammation it causes;
  • the obstruction of an organ like the intestine by a mass;
  • surgery;
  • chemotherapy;
  • radiotherapy.

THE PAIN: YOU HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT WITHOUT WORRYING

MANY PEOPLE WITH CANCER DO NOT DARE TO TALK ABOUT THE PAIN THEY FEEL. SEVERAL REASONS MOTIVATE THEIR CHOICE:

  • the fear of worrying those around them;
  • the fear that if you feel more pain, it is that the disease gets worse;
  • fear of disturbing health professionals;
  • the fear of becoming “drug dependent”.

You have to understand that the people around you are there to help you and that what they want above all else is your well-being. If you talk about your pain, people around you can help you find solutions to improve your comfort (eg change of furniture, help with household chores, accompaniment to appointments, etc.).

Do not hesitate to discuss your pain with your doctor, pharmacist or other member of the treatment team. There is no miracle recipe that works for everyone to treat pain. Each case is unique, but it is possible to find for each effective solutions to relieve it. Keeping a journal of your pain can help your pharmacist or doctor find the right treatment for you.

There is no link between the severity of the disease and the pain. Some have severe illness without pain, while others may experience severe pain despite less aggressive or less advanced cancer.

THE TREATMENT OF PAIN

It is important to treat the pain as quickly as possible so that it does not increase and become more difficult to control.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF POORLY CONTROLLED PAIN ARE NOT TO BE NEGLECTED AND MAY INCLUDE:

  • fatigue and exhaustion;
  • the Depression;
  • anxiety;
  • the inability to relax, to sleep;
  • the inability to work or perform favorite activities;
  • difficulties in interpersonal or social relationships.

It is possible to relieve pain in different ways. Cancer treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, can sometimes reduce pain.

You can also use painkillers. You may be advised to take your pain medications regularly to have ongoing pain control rather than just “as needed”.

If the pain is mild to moderate, the use of painkillers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be of great help.

FOR MORE SEVERE PAIN, THE USE OF OPIATES, SUCH AS MORPHINE AND ITS DERIVATIVES, CAN BE OF GREAT HELP. THESE DRUGS ARE VERY EFFECTIVE AND THE DANGERS OF BECOMING ADDICTED ARE EXTREMELY LOW WHEN USED JUDICIOUSLY AGAINST PAIN. BY CONS, THEY CAN CAUSE YOU SIDE EFFECTS LIKE:

  • drowsiness;
  • dizziness
  • constipation;
  • nausea.

YOUR PHARMACIST CAN SUGGEST SIMPLE STEPS TO PREVENT OR TREAT THESE EFFECTS

Opiates can come in many different forms and can be administered in different ways: oral medications, patches, injections, infusion pumps.

IN ADDITION TO OPIATES, A LARGE NUMBER OF DRUGS CAN BE TRIED. THESE CAN BELONG TO DIFFERENT CLASSES, SUCH AS THE FOLLOWING:

  • non-opioid analgesics;
  • antidepressants;
  • anticonvulsants;
  • muscle relaxants;
  • anesthetics.

If you have cancer, you need all your strength to fight it. It is important not to ignore your pain and not let it weaken you. Your doctor and your pharmacist will make it a priority to try to work to relieve you, because there is no reason, with all the available tools, that you live with a poorly controlled pain. Express yourself to silence your pain. You will be able to put your energies where it is most important!