Overcoming Cancer PainDownload this book (pdf, 665.51 kb)
An overview of treating pain
There are many ways of treating both acute and chronic cancer pain. Treatment depends on the cause of the pain, but relief is still available even if the cause of the pain is unknown.
Treatments include the following methods used to treat cancer:
- cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormone therapy
- medications and other medical treatments specifically for pain
- non-medication methods, including physiotherapy, relaxation or massage.
Many people find a combination of treatments helps, but everyone is different, so it might take time to find the right pain relief for you. Different treatments work better at different times. When you're tired, you might need a hot pack. When you're refreshed, you might have more energy to do some meditation.
Try different pain relief methods more than once. If you're taking medication that doesn't seem to work or has stopped working, talk to your doctor - don't change the dose yourself.
When can I use pain relief?
- You can use different types of pain relief whenever you feel pain. Don't let your pain get out of control before doing something about it.
- The sooner pain is treated, the less likely it is to continue to be a long-term problem. If pain lasts longer than five days, see your doctor.
- Once prescribed, it is better to take medication as recommended rather than just at the time you feel the pain.
Is palliative care the same as pain management?
To palliate means to relieve, but pain management is just one aspect of palliative care.
The palliative care team works to improve your quality of life by easing symptoms of cancer without trying to cure the disease. They help to relieve pain, as well as other symptoms caused by cancer, such as nausea, constipation or breathlessness. They also focus on addressing emotional, practical and spiritual needs to aid your comfort, reduce your stress and help you maintain your independence for as long as possible.
- Read Understanding Palliative Care.
- Read Understanding Chemotherapy.
- Read Understanding Radiotherapy.