Pain Management In Cancer Patients Is Challenging Due To Lack Of Communication

Pain management in cancer patients is challenging due to lack of communication- otherwise, we have a solution to it and this solution is a necessity to be implicated: 

Addressed by Dr. Sajjan Rajpurohit 

Yeah, I completely agree it is really difficult to talk about pain and maintaining an unbarred communication with your healthcare provider if you are already suffering from deadly disease like cancer. 

Still, I would suggest, it is an important part of your care to elaborate on your pain symptom during or after cancer treatment. As per statistics in literature, up to 90% of cancer-associated pain is successfully treatable and manageable being an important part of cancer care guidelines. 

Yes, it’s agreeable that not all proportion of patients with cancer are not benefited from pain management but that is no reason to suffer in silence as still, a lot of effective help is available to be delivered by your cancer care team. 

It’s not uncommon to find words describing unpleasant sensations referred to as Pain; which is definitely subjective. Various published and ongoing researches have enabled us to understand pain by means of strategically designed clinical trials. 

Myth practiced by a certain proportion of the community is a vague belief that pain is a natural aspect of being alive so they shall suffer there part. 

However, for rest pain is devastating which requires an immediate remedy. Cancer survivors and sufferers can give explain cancer-related pain that often continues for months or years during or after treatment. 

I was personally surprised to interact with my patients and came up to the conclusion that my around 25% of cancer survivors reported living with chronic pain unless I gave them post-treatment pain management; which definitely gave them effective relief. 

Does this fact serves as a reminder of high price in cancer treatment; NOT REALLY 

Despite chronic illness- long term unmanaged pain, it needs serious thoughts of communication with your Doctor. 

He or she can provide you pain management regimens effective within your budget as well. Pain management nowadays has numerous advances in interventions that can help in improving the quality of life. 

Your Doctor might need lots of answers as pain is deceptive and subjective so provide him with your experiences and history of pain; answer all questions: Well the key is proper communication. This healthy therapeutic relationship will allow your doctor to develop a treatment plan. 

For example: 

  • Patients with neuropathy from chemotherapy require pain management for about 12 months or more. 
  • Cancer Survivors with history of stem cell transplantation reports with painful syndromes that requires lifestyle changes (behavioral therapy etc) and pharmacotherapy 
  • Well, an example of certain medications used in pain management includes aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, codeine, etc. 
  • Relaxation therapies and behavioral therapies are also used in pain management 
  • Transdermal fentanyl is used extensively in patients with dysphagia. 
  • Interventional therapies: nerve blocks, vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty, and Botulinum toxin injections especially with cases of muscle spasticity, tightness, and pain are of great success 

Being an experienced medical oncologist I suggest since the pain of cancer is chronic requires effective intervention. So try to communicate with cancer patients as healthcare providers at home or healthcare setup. 

You or your medical team might get worried about the dangers that come with pain management with strong pharmacotherapy. Well, don’t worry interdisciplinary and collaborative effort is made with different approaches. 

So, side effects like itching, drowsiness and sleepiness, nausea, and constipation can be managed but the key to communication is essential. Don’t suffer from side effects they can be treated effectively; instead, tell it to your treating doctor. 

Same time keeping in mind about medicolegal consequences it’s really important to prevent overdosage of opioid pain medicines without having a prescription. As it can be dangerous leading to drug abuse death of people. 

Despite advances in cancer treatment, over 600,000 individuals die each year from cancer, and among which 70% are expected to have pain as an anachronic symptom at the end of life: as per reported data in the literature. 

Ever gold standard of end‐of‐life care is pain relief so that suffering individuals at the end can have a peaceful last phase of life. 

I understand as human and Medico that the continued challenge for optimum pain relief rests on communication being a key which can enable us to cross all barriers and challenges for pain management associated with cancer.

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