Colorectal cancer can cause pain. This is inevitable. Nearly half of cancer patients experience this condition, 1 out of 3 people going through cancer treatment experience pain. If you are the one suffering from cancer pain, it is significant to know about the causes and some ways to manage pain.
What causes your cancer pain?
There are three main causes for your cancer pain: Pain from the tumor, Treatment-related pain, and Post-operative pain. Most cancer pain occurs when a tumor presses on bone, nerves or organs. The level of pain may differ according to location. For example, a small tumor near a nerve or the spinal cord may be very painful, while a larger tumor elsewhere may not cause discomfort. The pain also occurs by cancer itself because tissue near cancer area may be damaged. Cancer pain can be felt during cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery treatment. Chemotherapy brings some side effects such as mouth sores, diarrhea and nerve damage. Radiation may leave behind a burning sensation or painful scars while surgery needs time to recover. Pain after surgery is a normal experience, so relieving pain is necessary to heal the pain quickly and effectively.
How can you manage your cancer pain?
Use pain medications
Preventing pain or relieving pain by using drugs is one of the common measures applied. Patients who use medications treatment need to follow the instruction of the doctor. In emergency cases, doctors may give patient “rescue” or extra doses to control the temporary situation. Some of the common drugs recommended are aspirin, paracetamol and opioids, which help control the pain quickly without extreme side effects. Each type of drugs has its particular effects and they may cause some side effects. You should consult the doctor or carefully read the instruction before applying it. Other medications like antidepressants and anti-seizure medicines are also recommended to relieve pain, especially nerve-related pain.
Try non-drug pain treatment options
There are several methods to help you forget pain by distracting it. You can do some workouts to pay attention to performing a task instead of the pain. It is believed that right breathing using the diaphragm and abdomen can soothe the nervous system and manage stress. Meditation is considered as an effective method to release stress and blood pressure. Besides, you should try massaging or acupuncture as it helps your muscle relax.
Try alternative therapies
When medicine is ineffective in relieving your pain, you might want to try other options to reduce pain such as radiation therapy, nerve blocks or implanted pumps, neurosurgery or surgery. Radiation therapy is often effective for some people in one dose of radiation that shrinks the tumor. Implanted pain pump and nerve blocks that block certain nerves temporarily or permanently help reduce painful conditions. In neurosurgery, pain is relieved by cutting nerves (usually in the spinal cord) that trigger the pain while in other surgery, all or part of the tumor that presses on nerves or other body parts is removed. Make sure that you do research or consult with your doctor before choosing one of those therapies.
The best practice for cancer patients is to be aware of their condition and to always follow their doctor’s instruction, no matter what treatment is applied to manage their cancer pain. Medication dosages may vary from time to time depending on your body condition and how your cancer treatment progresses. You should let your doctor know when your medication becomes less effective.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: October 6, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
Cancer pain management. https://www.mdanderson.org/patients-family/diagnosis-treatment/emotional-physical-effects/cancer-pain-management.html. Accessed October 5, 2016.
Side effects. http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/side-effects/pain-treating-pain-medication. Accessed October 5, 2016.
Pain management: cancer pain. http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/guide/pain-management-cancer-pain?page=2. Accessed October 5, 2016.
Cancer pain management. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/cancer-pain-management. Accessed October 5, 2016.