Cancer pain diagnosis
First of all, your doctor may perform a physical exam to identify the pain origin. The description of your pain is crucial in understanding its character (dull, achy, sharp, shooting) and intensity (mild, moderate, severe).
Cancer pain treatment methods
There are a number of treatment methods that are available for cancer pain management. The method of choice depends on the cause of cancer pain and the intensity of the painful sensations. In addition, combination therapy may be needed to relieve the pain.
Cancer pain treatment methods include:
- Medications derived from opium (opioids). Opioids are the type of prescription medications used for moderate to severe cancer pain. Morphine and oxycodone are examples of opioid drugs. There are two types of opioid medicines: short-lasting and long-lasting. Pain reliefs more quickly with the short-lasting opioids, but you may need to take them more often. In the case of long-lasting opioid drugs, it takes longer to relieve pain, but you don’t need to take them as often as short-lasting opioids.
- Procedures to block pain signals. The nerve block procedure is also used to prevent pain signals from being sent to the brain. To perform this procedure, your doctor injects a numbing medication around or directly into a nerve.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers. Pain relievers that do not require a prescription are beneficial in relieving mild to moderate cancer pain. Such pain relievers include aspirin, acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), and ibuprofen (such as Advil).
- Integrative therapies. Such methods as acupuncture, relaxation exercises, massage, hypnosis, and physical therapy may also be beneficial in pain relief.
- Other prescription medicines. Antidepressants, steroids, and anti-seizure are other medications may help you deal with cancer pain.