Stomach Cancer Pain Management & Control
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Pain Management for Stomach Cancer
Just as every patient is unique, so is the pain he or she experiences. That’s why at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) we take an individualized approach to cancer pain management.
Our team of licensed pain management clinicians can help you achieve cancer pain control and live in greater comfort as you undergo treatment for stomach cancer. Should you and your CTCA doctors deem it best, you can meet with one of these experienced clinicians. He or she will spend time with you to:
- Learn about the pain you are experiencing
- Attempt to pinpoint the source of your pain
- Identify the severity of the pain
- Discuss possible recommendations regarding pain management
- Educate you and your caregiver about those stomach cancer pain management recommendations
Your CTCA pain management clinician will periodically reassess your pain. If you continue to experience pain, he or she may change the dosage of your medication, or recommend a different modality for improved cancer pain control.
All in all, your cancer pain management clinician’s goal is to minimize your level of pain as much as possible, so that you remain comfortable and able to maintain your energy and focus on fighting the disease.
Pain medications & modalities
Your pain management clinician may recommend anti-inflammatory medications, opioid medications or non-opioid medications to help control your pain. These pain medications may be taken orally or delivered using the following administration methods:
- Implanted pain pumps
- Medicated patches
Nerve blocks for stomach cancer pain
There are two nerve block therapies commonly used for stomach cancer pain management:
- Celiac Plexus Block – This procedure aims to reduce chronic pain in the upper abdomen. It blocks the sensation of pain in the bundle of nerves in and around the stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, kidneys and bowel.
- Hypogastric Plexus Block – This block affects nerves in the lower abdomen, near the upper front of the pelvis. It can prevent pain in the bladder and lower bowel. For men, it also reduces pain in the testicles, penis and prostate; for women, it minimizes pain in the uterus, ovaries and vagina.
For either of these procedures, an anesthesiologist first must inject a temporary, local anesthetic into the area where the affected nerves are to determine if you experience pain relief. If the temporary block works, the anesthesiologist will administer a neurolytic solution (i.e., pain killing medication) to the same area 24 hours later. This long-term nerve block will destroy the nerves, thereby preventing you from feeling pain in that region of the abdomen.
Stomach cancer patients may experience pain relief from a celiac plexus block or hypogastric plexus block for an extended period, which may last days, weeks or months (depending on your response to the nerve block).
Other forms of pain relief
At CTCA, you will also have access to a number of supportive therapies that provide natural, holistic pain relief, such as:
- Chiropractic treatment
- Massage therapy
- Physical therapy
- Guided imagery
- Mind-body relaxation
For example, your mind-body therapist can teach you ways to cope and relax as you go through stomach cancer treatment. And, physical therapy increases your mobility, causing an increase in your immune system’s natural defense against pain: endorphins.
Next Topic: Naturopathic Medicine for Stomach Cancer