- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Pain and cancer
- Other ways to control pain
- Ways to manage ongoing pain after treatment
Ways to manage ongoing pain after treatment
Improvements in diagnosing and treating cancer have led to an increase in the number of people surviving cancer. After treatment for cancer, some people will have ongoing pain. This is known as chronic pain and it can be treated in a variety of ways:
- Discuss your pain with your doctor so you can develop a pain management control plan. The Managing cancer pain: planning for success booklet includes a pain management plan template and pain goal-setting tool.
- A multidisciplinary pain clinic can help minimise pain, restore function and return you to your normal activities.
- Mild painkillers may be used. Opioids such as codeine and morphine have been shown not to work very well to control chronic pain.
- Being actively involved in managing your pain has been shown to help reduce pain. Learning how pain works can help you think about the pain differently and increase your confidence to do daily activities.
- Psychological therapies can change how you respond to pain.
- Some complementary therapies may help, especially those that require your active participation.
- If pain is interfering with daily activities, set yourself some achievable goals. Gradually increase your activity – e.g. if it hurts to walk, start with walking to the front gate, then to the corner, and then to the bus stop up the road.
- Movement is very important: daily stretching and walking can help you deal with the pain. It is important to pace activities throughout the day, including rest and stretch breaks.
- Mindful movement combines relaxation, mindfulness and movement. It provides a way to change pathways in the body and brain that have become overactive due to pain.
- Relaxation techniques may improve the effectiveness of other pain relief methods and help you sleep. Listen to our relaxation and meditation audio tracks now.
This information has been developed by Cancer Council NSW on behalf of all other state and territory Cancer Councils as part of a National Cancer Information Working Group initiative. We thank the reviewers of this information: Dr Tim Hucker, Clinical Lead, Pain Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Lecturer, Monash University, VIC; Carole Arbuckle, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Anne Burke, Co-Director, Psychology, Central Adelaide Local Health Network, SA, and President Elect, The Australian Pain Society; Kathryn Collins, Co-Director, Psychology, Central Adelaide Local Health Network, SA; A/Prof Roger Goucke, Head, Department of Pain Management, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Director, WA Statewide Pain Service, and Clinical A/Prof, The University of Western Australia, WA; Chris Hayward, Consumer; Prof Melanie Lovell, Senior Staff Specialist, Palliative Care, HammondCare Centre for Learning and Research, Clinical A/Prof, Sydney Medical School, and Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, NSW; Linda Magann, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Palliative Care and Peritonectomy Palliative Care, St George Hospital, NSW; Tara Redemski, Senior Physiotherapist, Gold Coast University Hospital, Southport, QLD.
Thank you to the Australian Adult Cancer Pain Management Guideline Working Party, Improving Palliative Care through Clinical Trials (ImPaCCT), and the Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care (University of Technology Sydney), whose work contributed to the development of the previous editions of this booklet. Thank you also to the original writers, Dr Melanie Lovell and Prof Frances Boyle AM.
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