For breast cancer patients, the pain can be treated a few different ways and for a number of different causes that include nerve damage, breast tissue infection, and breast pain, as well as, issues such as headache or stomachache. Pain doctors will create a customized pain control plan to keep your pain under control.
Treatment of Breast Cancer Pain
Breast cancer patients may get pain relief through the use of analgesics but for some breast cancer patients there can be a need for treatments to help control your pain. We make the mistake of thinking the only purpose of chemotherapy and radiation is to shrink your breast tumor but these treatments can also reduce your pain. Sometimes, surgery is also used to reduce the pain by removing the tumor.
Analgesics commonly used to reduce pain in breast cancer patients. These analgesics can either non-opioid or opioid medications, although opioids are more commonly used to control breast cancer patients with severe pain.
Non-opioid analgesics are often effective in treating mild to moderate pain, and they include the use of NSAIDs. They can help to reduce inflammation and your pain doctor may prescribe them in addition to your opioid medications. You can also use acetaminophen to help reduce pain. Corticosteroids like prednisone or dexamethasone are commonly used to reduce inflammation and swelling.
Opioids like fentanyl hydromorphone, oxycodone and morphine are prescribed by pain doctors when your pain is moderate – severe. Your pain doctors will access all of your medication to ensure you are on the right combination to produce the best results and pain control. These medications work by reducing the pain impulse messages.
Your pain doctors will focus on the no ceiling effect, which simply means that your doctors can achieve pain relief with the use of high enough dosages of pain medication. When opioids are being used, your doctor will always focus on finding the optimal dose where you have maximum pain relief with minimum side effects.
Pills are the favorite method for providing opioids. However, subcutaneous injections that are under the skin, intravenous injections that go into the vein, infusions where medicine is constantly supplied to you, skin patches and/or suppositories are also used.
If you suffer from constant breast cancer pain, your pain doctor will develop a pain management plan offers you opioids around the clock to keep your pain under control. Your doctors may have to experiment to figure out what the best dosage for you is for controlling your pain. Your pain doctor may also switch you to long acting formulas then use the short acting medications as breakthrough medications.
Other Pain Management Techniques
Other techniques that can help with pain include massage, biofeedback, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, reflexology, TENS, aromatherapy and deep breathing. Medical marijuana is also being used because it can control nausea and pain with minimal side effects.
Your pain doctor’s focus is to keep your pain under control while undergoing breast cancer treatments.