Colon Cancer Pain
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Many colon cancer patients, especially those in advanced colon cancer stages, experience some pain during the course of the disease and treatment. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), we provide a nurturing variety of complementary and supportive therapies, including pain management techniques, to help diminish pain related to colon cancer and its treatment. We understand how unrelieved pain can diminish your quality of life, and we will work to help you manage pain through a range of pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches.
Cancer-related pain is normally classified as either being acute or chronic. Acute pain does not last as long and is generally the result of tissue damage or other related symptoms, which can be successfully managed. Chronic pain, on the other hand, lasts for a longer period of time (generally three months or longer). Because the causes of chronic pain are persistent and difficult to alter, your nervous system will adapt, which may cause additional negative side effects such as depression, anxiety and/or insomnia.
From your colon cancer stage to the location of the metastases themselves, the severity and prevalence of cancer-related pain depends on many factors. Pain related to colon cancer can result from conventional colon cancer treatments (e.g., surgery, radiation, chemotherapy), as well as the disease process itself.
Pain affects each colon cancer patient differently, depending on factors, including age, personality, perception, pain threshold and past experiences with pain. Psychological factors, such as fear or worries, can also influence the severity of the pain. Insomnia, fatigue and anxiety may heighten perceived pain, while rest, sleep and diversion can reduce the effect of pain and improve overall quality of life.
To create an effective pain management plan for your colon cancer treatment, our colon cancer doctors will first perform a comprehensive assessment based on the following factors:
- Factors influencing its occurrence (i.e., what makes it better or worse)
- Observed behaviors during pain
- Psychosocial variables (e.g., attitudes, situational factors)
- Effects of pain
- Effects of therapy and patterns of coping
The ultimate goal of colon cancer pain management at CTCA is not only pain relief, but to restore and/or maintain your normal quality of life. All methods of pain management that we offer as part of your colon cancer treatment will attempt to either control the cause of the pain directly, or alter your perception of it.
Although there are a wide range of approaches to pain management, therapeutic pain management techniques can be classified as either pharmacological or non-pharmacological. Pharmacological pain control involves the use of analgesics, as well as other medications that intensify the analgesics' effects or modify your mood or pain perception. Non-pharmacological approaches include:
- Behavioral techniques
- Neurological and neurosurgical interventions
- Traditional nursing and psychosocial interventions
- Relaxation techniques and guided imagery
- Massage and physical therapy
These approaches attempt to improve your comfort and state of mind while evaluating the effectiveness of the pain management therapy. Because colon cancer-related pain can occur in many complex forms, successful pain management may often involve a combination of different pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches.