CANCER PAIN

Cancer Pain treatment Texas

Not only is it hard enough to deal with being dealt a cancer diagnosis, there are a host of additional concerns and issues that can arise. Your thoughts race from treatment to family to prognosis and timeline. As medical professionals, we know how consuming cancer can be, for both the patient and the patient’s family. On top of dealing with battling the cancer itself, patients often experience pain symptoms that are caused by the cancer as well as the treatment options. These symptoms can often be difficult to manage and treat, but there is hope. The Texas Pain Care team in the Sugar Land, Missouri City and Houston areas is dedicated to helping our family of patients most comfortably manage their symptoms so they can focus on their cancer treatment and enjoying their life as much as possible. Benefit from effective Cancer Pain treatment in Texas.

What is Cancer Pain?

Cancer pain is any symptoms or feelings of pain that are associated with cancer or cancer treatment. Not every person who is diagnosed with cancer will have pain, but most cancer patients can expect to experience pain on some level. Cancer pain can be described as mild, moderate or severe, and can feel like a sharp, stabbing pain or a tingling or burning sensation that comes and goes, or a persistent ache. 

Regardless of whatever form it takes, cancer pain greatly affects a person’s quality of life. Not only is it an added stressor, it can also make certain cancer side effects and cancer treatment symptoms feel worse. It can also increase a person’s chance of developing depression and anxiety worse, which is why it’s important to partner with a trained pain management specialist who can treat cancer pain. 

The most common cancers where patients report feeling significant pain include:

The level of pain felt can vary depending on the type of tumor, the stage of cancer, as well as the progression of the disease. In regard to stage of treatment, pain experienced was most intense for patients who have advanced terminal cancer, and decreased for those undergoing treatment and even more so for those after curative treatment. 

Cancer pain, or the feeling or perception of, varies from person to person. Cancer pain can affect a person’s bones, nerves and soft tissues. Types of pain can include: 

Bone pain: this could feel like a dull or throbbing pain

Nerve pain: this occurs as a result of the cancer itself (growths that put pressure on the nerves) or the cancer treatment causing nerve damage. It can feel like burning or shooting pain, or a tingling sensation. It’s also one of the most difficult cancer pains to treat.

Soft tissue pain: an umbrella term for tendons, muscles, skin and fat of the body, soft tissue pain and organ pain can feel like sharp, cramping or throbbing pain

Phantom pain: pain that is felt in a part of a body that has been surgically removed to eliminate cancer

Referred pain: pain that is caused by one part of the body but is felt in another

On average, almost four out of 10 patients who were diagnosed with some form of cancer reported feeling moderate to severe pain, making it a common symptom that requires careful and direct attention. 

What Causes Cancer Pain?

There are a few different ways that cancer pain can be experienced. These include: 

Related to cancer tumors: tumors can press upon organs and nerves, which can lead to pain

Related to cancer treatment: chemotherapy and radiation can lead to pain, tingling and numbness in the feet

Unrelated to cancer: soft tissue or visceral (pain we feel when our internal organs are inflamed, diseased, damaged or injured) pain could occur due to damage caused by cancer or cancer treatment. There is also the chance of experiencing phantom pain, most often from mastectomies or surgical amputations. 

Cancer pain can be felt in many sensations and locations in the body. The best way to treat pain felt from cancer or cancer treatment is to partner with a pain management specialist who can properly diagnose and treat your feelings of pain and help you live a comfortable life. 

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What are the Best Treatments for Cancer Pain?

Thankfully there are several cancer treatment options available so a patient can find which option or options works best for them. 

Alternative or complementary methods include: 

Biofeedback: treatment that teaches a person to become aware of processes that are generally considered involuntary, allowing the person to gain conscious control of, in our case, the perception of pain and the control of pain

Meditation: patients who practiced mindfulness meditation reported a decrease in anxiety, depression and pain, all with zero side effects

Massage: in addition to helping with general discomfort and specific areas of muscle spasms/contractions, massage therapy can help a person to relax and decrease their feelings of stress and tension

Acupuncture: studies show a decrease of pain levels when receiving acupuncture treatment

In addition to at-home methods for pain reductions, which include applying heat and/or cold to the area, and alternative methods, certain medical treatments can also help to alleviate cancer pain. These include: 

Medications: both over-the-counter and prescription medication can help to alleviate the feelings of pain

Nerve blocks: specific nerve blocks can help to relieve cancer pain, especially when the pain is felt in several areas of the body. A celiac plexus block has proven effective for treating pain that hasn’t responded to other treatment methods. 

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): this method utilizes mild electrical currents that disrupt the sensation of pain from being received by the brain, so the patient instead feels a mild tingling sensation

Intrathecal pumps: also known as a pain pump, an intrathecal pump is a surgically implanted device that delivers medication directly to the fluid surrounding the spinal cord, and have proven useful for providing long term pain relief 

It can be difficult to treat and manage cancer pain. But it is possible, and you don’t have to suffer in pain or do it alone. The Texas Pain Care team in the Sugar Land, Missouri City and Houston areas can expertly diagnose and treat all forms of cancer pain with a goal to help their family of patients increase their quality of life. Please schedule an appointment today if you are experiencing pain from your cancer itself or from your cancer treatment. 

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