When diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder, one of the most common fears is that of pain. In fact, many patients are worried that pain may not only affect their quality of life, but also that medicines to treat it will get them addicted, or even worse, stop working. The doctors of Georgia Cancer Specialists are skilled in pain management, and through new and different approaches, your cancer pain can be controlled.
There are many causes of pain. Most cancer pain is from the tumor pressing against nerves, bones, or tissue. However, some treatments for the cancer can also cause pain, infection, and immobility (being inactive).
It’s important to remember that seriously ill patients can have pain that has nothing to do with the disease or its treatment. Headaches, muscle strains, chest pain, and arthritis are common ailments that may need to be treated along with pains related to the disease.
Pain keeps people from feeling good. It keeps people awake, can make them grouchy and irritable, and prevents them from enjoying activities such as exercise and eating. Also, friends and family worry about people in pain but often feel helpless. Most pain can be relieved with very simple treatments so patients can enjoy life.
Doctors specializing in pain management give medical advice to patients and other physicians. People who experience pain often need a team approach with participation from a pain management specialist, counselor, oncology nurse, radiation oncologist, and their own oncologist.
Pain is most often treated with analgesics or “pain killers,” many of which are opioids (narcotics). However, there are many different kinds of medicines that help to ease pain, and frequently a combination of two or three medicines may be used. Your doctor will first recommend medicines taken by mouth or placed on the skin, using medicines injected into a vein only if the pain cannot be controlled.
Many times non-drug therapies such as relaxation, distraction, massage, and heat or cold are recommended. These non-drug therapies can be very effective in managing pain. In addition, some cancer pain needs radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, or nerve blocks to successfully be relieved.
The relationship between doctor and patient is very important, especially when a patient has pain. The patient counts on the doctor to choose the right types of medicines for the kind of pain experienced. The doctor counts on the patient to truthfully tell about the pain and take the pain medicine correctly. If you have questions about pain or its treatment, ask your nurse or doctor for more information.
For your protection, it is a GCS policy not to refill scheduled narcotics after hours or on weekends.
If you would like more information on pain management, fill out our information form.