What is pain management?
Managing pain is a priority during cancer treatment. Our experienced Pain Management team cares for you throughout your treatment to ensure that you are comfortable. We use a variety of modalities to treat and control pain, including:
- Prescription medications
- Implanted pain pumps
- Nerve block therapies
- Physical therapy
- Acupuncture and auriculotherapy
- Massage therapy
- Relaxation techniques and guided imagery
- Chiropractic treatment
Integrated approach to pain control
Our pain management team is fully integrated with your oncologist and other members of your team. In addition to medication, your pain management regimen may include one or more of our integrative oncology services:
- Naturopathic medicine uses natural therapies to help you combat pain, as well as reduce the hormonal side effects that may accompany cancer treatment.
- Oncology rehabilitation plays a key role in pain management by using a variety of physical therapy and other techniques to improve mobility and trigger the release of endorphins, which are the immune system’s natural defense against pain.
- The mind-body medicine team is available to teach you relaxation tools to help you manage pain, and to reduce the anxiety and fatigue related to cancer or cancer treatment.
For patients staying at the hospital, “Comfort Rounds” are conducted twice weekly. During these visits, pain management practitioners thoroughly evaluate your current pain level and how your current treatment approach is working, and make any necessary modifications to your treatment plan.
Video: Pain ManagementDr. Mark Axness briefly discusses the individualized pain management cancer patients receive at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
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, our pain management team will proactively work to manage and control your pain so you can focus on healing.
Some pain management approaches for breast cancer include:
- Pharmacological pain control: Some common breast cancer pain medications include anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics and steroids.
- Neuropathic pain control: 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.
- Palliative treatments: 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 consult regularly with other members of your care team to balance pain medicine with supportive options, such as oncology rehabilitation therapies, naturopathic medicine and mind-body medicine.