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Cancer Pain Management

Not all cancer patients experience pain, but generally one out of every 3 people getting treated for may have pain. If you do, there is nothing to worry. Most of the pain can be managed with medicines and other treatments. The pain can occur in different ways. It may be a dull, sharp, or achy pain. It can either be constant or intermittent and mild, moderate or severe.

What medicines can be used for cancer pain management?
For mild to moderate pain: Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin, and acetaminophen are groups of pain relievers that may be used.
For moderate to severe pain: Narcotic pain relievers such as morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl may be prescribed by your doctor.
For tingling and burning pain: Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants to treat pain. Anticonvulsants like gabapentin and carbamazepine can be used to control tingling and burning pain. Other drugs such as corticosteroids may be used to reduce swelling which may be the source behind the pain.

What are the other techniques for cancer pain management?
Most often, cancer pain is treated with medication. However, surgery to remove tumor and radiotherapy to shrink a tumor may also result in pain relief. Generally doctors treat cancer pain with analgesics or by employing non-medicinal techniques such as physical therapy, biofeedback, imagery, and relaxation techniques. Other treatment measures may include nerve blocks, where a pain medicine is injected into or around a nerve or spine.

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