What is Oncologic Pain?

Oncologic pain is pain that is related to a person’s cancer. Many times this pain can be severe and at times debilitating. Many oncologic pains can be treated so that the patient does not have to suffer and can live as comfortably as possible.

What Causes Oncologic Pain

Oncologic pain is caused by the cancer itself. Typically a tumor pressing on a nerve, organ, or bone is to blame. The type and severity of pain depends on the type of cancer as well as what stage it is. Other times the pain is caused by cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. This type of pain can result in numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. Some pains can also be normal aches and pains, like headaches or muscle strains.

Types of Oncologic Pain

There are different types of oncologic pain that range in severity as well as location. A cancer patient may only experience one type or multiple types of pain.

Acute Oncologic Pain

Acute oncologic pain is usually the result of some type of injury. It lasts until the injury goes away which in some cases can be a long time.

Chronic Oncologic Pain

Chronic pain can last a long time, sometimes months or years. It can be mild or it can be severe. It can also limit what a patient can do on a daily basis as well as be debilitating.

Breakthrough Oncologic Pain

This pain may be the most frustrating for patients because it happens despite the fact that the pain is being treated. As the name suggests, it “breaks through” any relief a patient is receiving from medication or other treatments. It can’t be predicted and can range in severity.

Oncologic pain can affect different parts of the body which can also determine how it is treated.

Nerve Pain

Oncologic pain can put pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves. When this happens, a patient may feel numb or get a tingling feeling. Sometimes patients also have trouble moving when they have nerve pain.

Bone Pain

Bone pain is sometimes referred to as somatic pain. Cancer can spread into the bone and damage the bone tissue. This pain can be dull or throbbing.

Soft Tissue Pain

This type of pain is felt from an organ or muscle. It is also referred to as visceral pain. It can be extremely severe causing cramping, aching, or throbbing.

Phantom Pain

This pain is pain felt from a body part that is no longer there. Often times breast cancer patients who undergo a mastectomy get phantom pains. Most times phantom pains go away within a few months, but they can last up to a year.

Treating Oncologic Pain

Treating oncologic pain is about managing the pain effectively for the patient. The type of treatment will depend on the patient and the level of pain. Here are the most typical ways oncologic pain is treated:

Over-the-counter pain relievers: This can be anything from Tylenol to Motrin, or ibuprofen.
Weak opioids: These require a doctor’s prescription. An example of such medication is one that contains codeine.
Strong opioids: These also must be ordered from a doctor and can include morphine, oxycodone, and methadone, among others.
Therapy. Besides medication, there are other forms of treatment and therapies that may be used. The Pain Care Clinic of Idaho can help you determine which ones are best for you needs.

Depending on the pain level, some patients may opt for more intense pain management treatments. These can include:

  • Surgery. If nerve pain is the source, a neurosurgeon may cut the nerves to stop the pain. When this is done, the patient will have no feeling and become dumb. This surgery is delicate in nature and should be discussed with a doctor thoroughly so a patient understands all of the risks.
  • Nerve Block. This is not as intense as surgery but is still serious in nature. During this procedure, a numbing drug combined with a steroid is injected around the nerve to stop the pain. It’s important to note that a nerve block can cause muscle paralysis.
  • Epidural. Pain medicine is injected into the areas around the spine, similar to when a pregnant woman receives an epidural during labor. Some patients end up getting pumps implanted so pain medicine can be distributed around the nerves.

In order to accurately treat oncologic pain, patients should track the pain and its severity levels. Keeping a log of pain triggers and length of pain as well as pain location can help doctors determine which type of treatment is best.

For more information on how to deal with oncologic pain, contact the Pain Care Clinic of Idaho at (208) 629-2492. Let their team of experts help you determine what treatments can help to ease your pain.






Posted by info@pccofid.com at 1/20/2018 7:21:00 PM
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