12 Sep When Cancer Pain Seems Worse Than the Disease Itself
Here at Lone Star Pain Medicine, we treat patients experiencing all sorts of pain. From mild pain in the shoulders and arms to major lumbar pain that makes life difficult on the best days, we have seen it all. And yet cancer pain seems to stand out. It is not that cancer pain is always more serious than other types of pain. It’s just that it often seems worse than the disease itself.
One of the things that makes cancer pain so challenging is that it can be caused by both the disease and its treatments. It is not unusual for us to see patients whose disease-related pain is less severe than the pain brought on by chemo or radiation. As pain medicine specialists, our job is to treat regardless of the origin of a patient’s pain, in such a way as to not inhibit the success of their treatments.
When the Disease Causes Pain
It goes without saying that cancer causes pain all by itself. There are lots of ways this can happen. For example, consider a cancerous tumor that grows and spreads. As it does, it presses on nerves. Any amount of pressure to a nerve can cause excruciating pain.
Tumors can also create pain by working their way into vital organs; they can cause pain by destroying otherwise healthy tissue. There really is no shortage of ways the disease can lead to pain – whether that pain is mild, moderate, or severe.
When Treatments Cause Pain
Compared to treatments for other sorts of diseases, cancer treatments tend to be quite aggressive. Oncologists rely on everything from chemotherapy to radiation and surgical procedures in an attempt to rid a patient’s body of cancer. Unfortunately, such aggressive treatment isn’t without side effects. Pain is among the side effects.
On the lower end of the pain scale is the pain experienced during chemotherapy injections and intravenous treatments. More severe is neuropathic pain brought on by either chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Also known as neuropathy, neuropathic pain is the result of nerve damage.
Pain will almost always be a symptom following surgical procedures. More complex surgeries, like mastectomy, tend toward more severe pain along with additional risks including infection. So yes, treating cancer can feel worse to patients than the actual disease.
We May Be Able to Help
Cancer pain is one of the types of pain we treat at our Weatherford, TX clinic. As pain medicine specialists, we do not recommend a one-size-fits-all approach to managing cancer pain. Rather, we believe in individualized treatments customized for each patient. If you are currently undergoing cancer treatment, we might be able to help better manage your pain.
Our treatments include things like intrathecal pump implant and spinal cord stimulation for chemotherapy and radiation-related pain. Our metastatic cancer treatments include lumbar sympathetic blocks, kyphoplasty, radiofrequency neurotomy, and even epidurals.
We have a variety of treatments we can recommend based on the type of cancer you are being treated for and how you are feeling pain. A consultation with one of our pain specialists will help us figure out together what will work best for you.
We Want to Help You Through
We would never be so bold as to guarantee a positive outcome from cancer treatment. However, we can say that our genuine desire is to help you through this time in your life. If we can help you find some relief through customized pain treatments, we want to do so. Treating chronic pain is our specialty. We are here to help you find the pain relief you have been looking for.