How to Manage Cancer Pain

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

Being diagnosed with cancer means that you are at risk of cancer pain. Cancer can lead to either normal or severe pain, and it is not easy to suffer from. Therefore, approaching pain management is what one should look for.

What is pain management?

Most of cancer pain is caused by the tumor. The tumor pushes on nerves, bones or organs, so it leads to significant discomfort. Pain can also be the result of common cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.

If left untreated, pain not only affects your physical health but also devastates your mental health. This is the reason why you should look for and adopt pain management. Pain management is a variety of ways used to decrease pain and improve the quality of life through an integrative approach, medications or therapies. It is clear that pain management is particularly necessary for people with cancer, especially when they have excruciating pain due to advanced cancer. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, the number of cancer patients that can relieve their pain by simple pain management therapies is up to 90 percent. Good news without a doubt!

How to manage cancer pain


In some cases, you can discuss with your doctor if you choose radiotherapy as the treatment of your cancer pain. Radiotherapy is a treatment whose function is to shrink tumors that press on nerves or grow inside the bones, and then it can help control your cancer pain. A short course is usually suggested for you, with only one or two treatments. Furthermore, this therapy doesn’t bring you many side effects.

Nonprescription medicines

Although you can use medicines without a prescription, you should consult with your doctor, particularly if you have a fever or have had kidney or liver disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, or a stomach ulcer. You must also follow the instruction of the labels. Don’t take more than it is recommended. You should follow your doctor’s direction.

In fact, medicines you buy without a prescription may sometimes be sufficient to relieve your pain. You can buy acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, or anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, which also reduce swelling.

Prescription medicines

If non-prescription medicines cannot work for your pain, you may ask your doctor to give a prescription for stronger drugs. It is important to take medicines as your doctor instructed. If pain still occurs after the use of prescription medicines, you need to let your doctor know so that they can adjust your drugs.

Prescription medicines may be used alone or with other medicines. Depending on your pain and condition, some of these medicines work better than others. Prescription medicines can consist of opiate pain relievers, such as fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, and tramadol. Based on your cancer condition and types of pain, your doctor can suggest combining other medications with opiate pain relievers. These medicines may be given to help your pain medicine work better or to treat your symptoms, such as anticonvulsants to help control nerve pain like burning and tingling, antidepressants to relieve pain and help you gain peaceful sleep, or anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids (for example, prednisone or dexamethasone).

Some ways above can help you manage your cancer pain, but you need to make sure that they are approved by your doctor. If these methods fail to give you a relief, it is necessary that you need to have a talk with your doctor so that your pain can be treated more effectively.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: July 21, 2017 | Last Modified: December 4, 2019