Causes of Cancer Pain
- Cancer is a potentially painful group of related diseases where the body cells divide nonstop, affecting and spreading to the surrounding tissues. Cancer can affect any part of the body, disrupting the orderly process of cell reproduction. Uncontrolled cell growth can result in the formation of tumors.Causes of Cancer PainCancerous tumors cause pain by pressing on organs, bones, and nerves in the body. If you are dealing with this type of cancer pain, you understand how excruciating it can be and how it totally changes your quality of life.Undoubtedly, cancer pain has left you with many sleepless nights. It has changed the way that you interact with friends and family. One of your biggest challenges is the fact that since the causes of your cancer pain are not visible, your friends and family members may have a hard time understanding why you are irritable at times. This may result in you feeling isolated and alone.
Examples of cancer pain include:
- Spinal Cord Compression: When a tumor affects the spine, it can put pressure on the spinal cord. Symptoms of this type of pain are experienced in the back or neck. You may have numbness in the arms or legs. Movements like coughing and sneezing can intensify the painful experience
- Bone Pain: This type of pain is experienced when the cancer affects the bones. In some cases, radioactive medication is given to increase the strength of the bones. Treatments are designed to stop the cause of the bone pain, but it is likely that the patient will require medication to keep the pain under control.
- Cancer treatment is another source of cancer pain. Chemotherapy can produce a numb or tingling sensation in the hands or feet. The injection site for chemotherapy can produce a burning sensation, and radiotherapy can leave one’s skin red and irritated.
- Pain from Procedures and Testing. Some of the tests and procedures to diagnose cancer or to determine the effects of cancer treatment are painful. However, fear of pain should not cause one to avoid having these procedures done.
- Surgical Pain. Having surgery to successfully remove a cancerous growth can give you a sense of elation. At the same time, it can produce pain that lasts long after the surgery finishes.
- Phantom Pain. This is the pain you experience after a limb or breast has been removed as a part of cancer treatment. Although the body part is no longer present, you will feel a very real pain that doctors cannot explain. Phantom pain is real. It is not a figment of your imagination or something in your head.
Acute Cancer Pain
Acute pain is temporary. It is the result of an injury, and the pain dissipates once the injury has been healed. An example of acute pain is the pain associated with a cancer surgery. As the wounds from the surgery heals, the pain slowly fades and eventually disappears. Painkillers are normally effective in controlling acute cancer pain.
Chronic Cancer Pain
Chronic pain is the result of a change in the nervous system. It is pain that lasts longer than three months. A tumor pressing on a nerve can kill it. Or chemicals created by the tumor can severely damage or destroy the nerve. Cancer treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy may damage nerves, creating chronic pain.
Chronic pain persists after the original injury or the original treatment is over. It can range in severity from mild to extremely severe. Chronic pain sufferers may experience intermittent pain or persistent pain. It is not easy to treat chronic pain as it does not always respond to painkillers. However, a mixture of painkillers and other pain control techniques usually brings suffers a measure of relief.
Breakthrough Cancer Pain
Breakthrough pain describes pain that is not controlled by pain medications. It comes in a variety of intensities, it is unpredictable, and it comes on quickly. This type of pain can be caused when you finally find a pain medication combination that minimizes your discomfort, but then out of the blue the pain becomes more than what the medication or therapy can control.
Breakthrough pain feels much like the chronic pain a cancer sufferer is taking medication for. The only difference is that it is more severe, it is more intense, and it can break through the pain relief provided by prescription drugs. It can be triggered by certain activities, like getting dressed, walking, or sitting down. Because of how intermittent and unexpected the pain is, it is important to manage.
How We Can Help
The pain of cancer is usually constant and can drastically reduce a person’s quality of life. We understand that if our clients are able to manage their pain, their quality of life improves. They will sleep better, have more energy during the day, and be as active as they possibly can, thereby reducing the risk of ailments like blood clots, pneumonia, and bedsores.
We work with you to create a multifaceted approach to pain relief. It includes medication, relaxation therapies, alternative medicine like acupuncture, all the while working to reduce the size of the tumor or address the other pain causing injuries resulting from cancer.
We realize that every single one of our clients experiences pain in a unique way. For this reason, we do not present a one size fits all solution, but instead we tailor our treatment plans to meet your needs. Our goal is to offer you long-term and short-term solutions to your pain.
Over the years, we have seen firsthand the physical and emotional distress our patients feel because of pain. They can feel alone, like no one else understands what they are going through. If this is how you feel, know that you are not alone. We are here to help.
We understand, we will not give up on you, and we will work with you every step of the way, doing all we can to help you have a pain-free cancer recovery.