Managing symptoms of secondary bone cancer
For many people with secondary bone cancer, managing symptoms may make you feel better.
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Your doctor may prescribe pain-relieving medicines to reduce the pain. What you are prescribed will depend on the type of pain.
If you have mild pain, options include:
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
If you have moderate to severe pain, opioid-based medicines, like oxycodone or morphine, are used.
For bone pain, steroids like dexamethasone, may be used. For example, they may be used instead of NSAIDs in people with kidney (renal) failure and bone pain.
If your treatment shrinks the bone tumours or reduces the pressure on nerves and surrounding tissues, your doctor may be able to reduce the dose of the pain-relieving medicines.
Many people experience extreme or constant tiredness known as fatigue. This may be because the cancer is affecting your bone marrow.
You’ll have blood tests to monitor your blood cell count. If your red blood cell level is low (anaemia), you might have a blood transfusion.
These therapies are used alongside conventional medical treatments. Therapies such as massage, relaxation and acupuncture can increase your sense of control, decrease stress and anxiety, and improve your mood. Let your doctor know about any therapies you are using or thinking about trying, as some may not be safe or evidence-based.
For more on this, see Complementary therapies.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Craig Lewis, Conjoint Associate Professor UNSW, Senior Staff Specialist, Department of Medical Oncology, Prince of Wales Hospital, NSW; Dr Katherine Allsopp, Staff Specialist, Palliative Medicine, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Michael Coulson, Consumer; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; David Phelps, Consumer; Juliane Samara, Nurse Practitioner Specialist Palliative Care, Clare Holland House, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, ACT; A/Prof Robert Smee, Radiation Oncologist, Nelune Cancer Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, NSW.
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