Lung Cancer Pain Management & Control
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Pain Mangement for Lung Cancer
Many lung cancer patients arrive at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) experiencing side effects, such as pain, from previous treatments. Our pain management practitioners take as much time as needed to fully understand your condition. We assess your lung cancer pain using a variety of tools, including pain management scales and symptom tracking methods. We also really listen, so we’re able to locate your pain and take the appropriate steps to manage it.
For lung cancer patients, we treat pain that results from a variety of causes, including nerve damage, lung pain or infection, and long-standing issues, such as headaches or stomach aches. Your pain management practitioner will develop a customized pain control plan based on the other medications you are taking, and the medications that have worked in the past, if any.
Throughout your care, your lung cancer pain management practitioner will constantly reassess your pain. We use a pain management scale, which tells us how you function throughout the day. Then, we alter your treatment regimen accordingly.
What Causes Lung Cancer Pain?
You may experience pain from the cancer itself, or as a side effect of cancer treatment. Lung cancer pain may result from:
- A tumor putting pressure on tissues, bones, nerves or organs.
- Poor blood circulation because the cancer has blocked blood vessels.
- Blockage of an organ or tube in the body.
- Infection or inflammation in the lungs.
- Side effects of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other cancer treatments.
- Metastasis, or cancer cells that have spread to other sites in the body.
- Stiffness from inactivity.
- Pain that is completely independent from cancer or cancer treatment (e.g., headaches, backaches, muscle strains, arthritis or other common pains).
A Team Approach to Treating Lung Cancer Pain
Because of the complex nature of cancer-related pain, successful lung cancer pain management usually involves a combination of techniques. We use a variety of pain management methods, including pills, injections and skin patches. We also use implanted pain pumps that automatically deliver a pre-determined dose of pain medicine to the spine.
Our team can prescribe a new pain medication in the morning and follow up with you in the afternoon or the next morning to discuss any side effects, like nausea, drowsiness, constipation, dry mouth and itching. If you do experience side effects, we may switch your medications, prescribe something to treat the side effects or suggest one of our supportive therapies:
- Our Interventional Pulmonology program uses the latest minimally invasive techniques to treat many common causes of lung cancer pain and discomfort. These include airway blockages, chronic coughing and labored breathing. Some lung cancer patients develop compression fractures of the spine. We perform kyphoplasty to lift broken vertebrae and realign the spine.
- Naturopathic medicine can recommend natural therapies to help you combat pain and manage the side effects of pain medication.
- Oncology rehabilitation plays a key role in lung cancer 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 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.
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