How We Can Help
Cancer Pain Treatment Information
We offer a full range of treatment options to help you find pain relief, including the latest pain management techniques, such as:
- Pain medicines. Both narcotic and non-narcotic pain medicines may ease your pain. Our physicians work with you to determine the best dose that controls your pain while having the fewest side effects. You may develop dependency on narcotic medicines, so it is important that you take them exactly as your physician prescribes.
- Nerve blocks. By injecting a long-lasting anesthesia and steroid directly into your nerve, your physician can block pain signals from reaching your brain. The anesthetic numbs the nerve while the steroid reduces any inflammation around the nerve. This form of pain relief, called a nerve block, lasts a few weeks and can be repeated. Once you receive a nerve block injection, you should experience pain relief within 15 to 20 minutes.
- Antidepressants. Chronic pain associated with cancer can cause you to feel depressed or anxious. These conditions make treatments for your pain less effective. Our physicians may prescribe antidepressants to improve your quality of life and ensure that you get the full benefit of your pain treatments.
- Psychological counselling. In addition to antidepressants, speaking with a skilled psychiatrist or psychologist helps you cope with chronic pain. You may also be referred to support groups for people with cancer or people who experience chronic pain. In a support group, you can speak to others who are experiencing similar challenges. Sharing your feelings with others allows you to understand you are not alone and teaches you strategies for getting through difficult days.
- Physical therapy. For some cancers, physical therapy reduces pain. Physical therapists work with you using stretches, exercises and massages to loosen muscles and increase your mobility. Physical therapy may also relax or strengthen parts of your body that have become weakened by cancer or pain.
- Nerve stimulation. Sending electrical signals through nerves can block pain signals from reaching the brain, keeping you from feeling pain. To test if this procedure works for you, your physician will insert temporary electrode wires into the nerve that is causing you pain. The wires are connected to a generator that send small electrical pulses through the electrodes and into your nerve. Instead of feeling pain, you will feel tingling through the nerve. If the test works, a generator and electrodes are implanted into your body in a quick outpatient surgical procedure. This treatment is reversible if you no longer need nerve stimulation in the future.
- Radiofrequency nerve lesioning. Depending on the location of your pain, you may be a candidate for radiofrequency nerve lesioning. In many cases, the pain is caused by a tumor that has spread to other parts of your body and is pressing on nerves. During this minimally-invasive procedure, a needle is inserted into the nerve that is causing your pain. Special radio waves are transmitted through the needle, killing the nerve and eliminating your pain. This procedure only works on certain nerves that are easy to access and affect specific areas. This procedure is not reversible.
- Intrathecal pain pump. An intrathecal pain pump automatically delivers the correct dose of pain medicine directly into your spinal cord throughout the day. Because the medicine is put into your spine, you do not need to take as much medicine as you would if you took pills. This reduces your risk for side effects, such as elevated blood pressure and weight gain, while maximizing your pain relief. To install a pain pump, you undergo a short, outpatient surgery procedure. The pump is implanted into your torso, and a catheter (a thin tube) runs from the pump into your spine. When the pump is empty, it is refilled easily in your physician’s office. If you no longer need the pain pump at a later date, it can be removed.
Cancer Pain Locations & Physicians
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Find a Specialist
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Cancer Pain Support Services
You are not alone in your fight against cancer or your battle with chronic pain. Visit the websites below to learn more about cancer pain management and find support resources.
A Sampling of Cancer Pain Support Services
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society features information and many resources related to cancer pain and its management.
National Cancer Institute
This government website hosts detailed information on different treatment options for cancer pain.