Breast Cancer Pain Management & Control
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Pain Management for Breast Cancer
During the course of your breast cancer journey, you may experience pain from the cancer itself, or as a side effect of treatment. Pain associated with breast cancer is generally related to the stage of the disease. For example, a breast lump typically has no pain. However, if the disease progresses or metastasizes to the bone, you may experience sharp and/or achy pains.
We understand that unrelieved breast cancer pain can diminish your quality of life as well as your ability to battle the disease. Throughout your treatment, the pain management team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) will proactively work to manage and control your pain so you can focus on healing.
Finding a Balance
Upon your arrival at CTCA, you will meet with a pain management practitioner to assess your breast cancer pain. Based on this assessment, you will receive an individualized pain management plan that includes pain control methods best suited to you.
We understand you need relief from pain while still being able to participate in the activities you enjoy most. Throughout your breast cancer treatment, your pain management practitioner will reassess your pain and adjust your medications to fit your lifestyle.
Pain Control Methods for Breast Cancer
Because of the complex nature of cancer-related pain, successful pain management usually involves a combination of techniques to seek a balance between pain relief and quality of life.
- One therapeutic approach, pharmacological pain control, involves the use of medications. Some common breast cancer pain medications include anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics and steroids.
- In addition, breast cancer patients often experience neuropathic pain, particularly after breast cancer surgery. Your pain management practitioner will consult with other members of your care team to provide nerve injections, implanted pain pumps or nerve stimulation devices like Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS) to help promote nerve regeneration.
- Other breast cancer pain control options may include palliative treatments to improve your comfort and quality of life. For example, for breast cancer that has spread to the liver, radiation therapy may help to reduce the size of the tumor on the liver. If you experience pleural effusion (abnormal fluid build-up around the lungs), a thoracentesis can drain fluid that surrounds the lungs and help you breathe better.
Aside from your oncologists, your breast cancer pain management practitioner will also consult regularly with the complementary medicine clinicians in your care team to balance pain medicine with supportive options, such as oncology rehabilitation therapies, naturopathic medicine and mind-body medicine.
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