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Pain Management for Cancer Patients
The announcement that you or a loved one has cancer creates a frightening and complex situation. Besides the usual fears is the concern that the patient will suffering a lot of pain during treatment. You want to make sure that this pain can be properly managed so that you or the loved one does not suffer unduly. Pain management becomes a very important part of the entire treatment of a cancer patient. Luckily, there are many different approaches to pain management, and there are now medical specialists who can help determine the most effective in each case.
That is now a big misconception, that having cancer will automatically mean a great deal of pain in the treatment. People frequently feel they just have to learn to deal with it. With today's pain management techniques, this has become a complete fallacy. No-one needs to adjust to pain any longer. If a patient is open and communicative about the pain they are experiencing, his pain management team will be able to find relief for the patient. There are a number of ways to manage pain, and the patient needs to let the experts decide which steps to take to alleviate it.
Normally, your doctor will be very sensitive to your pain and discomfort. However, if you feel your doctor does not seem to have a solution to the pain you or your loved one is experiencing, it is important to meet with someone who specializes in the area of pain management. These often include the oncologist , the cancer treatment specialist, who is a member of a pain management team. Some other medical specialists who work in this area are neurologists and anesthesiologists. A neurologist deals with the entire nervous system, the area of the body that signals pain, and an anesthesiologist has the expertise to deal with pain management during surgery.
It's important to recognize that pain management is part of the overall process for treating cancer patients. This isn't a luxury, or something that's introduced only when the pain becomes completely intolerable. A good doctor will want to be informed about any pain or discomfort, from the moment that it's experienced. As time goes on, medications and/or other pain management approaches may need to be changed, so it's critical that you keep the lines of communication open in order to receive the relief that you need.
The patient should follow the pain managegment plan closely once a pain management technique has been identified. Under no circumstances should the patient try to "tough it out" by holding out and lengthening times between doses.The pain management team has designed what they believe to be the appropriate course of treatment for relief, and postponing doses throws off course. In many cases, people increase the dosage to compensate for the greater level of pain, so this so called bravery only makes matters worse. Gradually increasing or decreasing treatment is the concept behind pain management. Allow the members of your medical team to decide the proper dosage to control pain.
Many patients are concerned that they will become addicted or immune to the medication, so they resist the idea of pain medication. Another reason is that they fear side effects. You should consult your doctor if these concern you. As long as you follow the program and are monitored, he will assure you that there should be no concerns.
For more information about pain management, contact the American Cancer Society or the National Cancer Institute. Medical professionals are always on hand to assist you with questions and concerns about all facets of the disease, including the management of pain.
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