According to the cancer statistics provided by the National Cancer Institute, about 1,735,350 patients will receive a diagnosis this year while another 609,640 will succumb to it. The good news, though, is that in 2014, there were 14.5 million cancer survivors and by 2024, it will rise to 19 million. Here is how Maryland Pain & Wellness will help you manage your cancer pain.
Cancer Pain Definition
The cancer pain definition considers both the cancer diagnosis and the treatment that is distinguished as neuropathic, nociceptive, or a blend of the two. Pain levels often depend on the type of cancer, the stage of it, and a person’s tolerance for cancer pain which will vary between a mild tingling and a stabbing or shooting pain that affects the nerves, organs, tissues, and bones. It also may be from the cancer blood tests, diagnosis, or treatment. In most cases, it is the pain itself that causes a patient to seek out the services of a cancer pain management specialist.
Cancer Blood Tests
There are several cancer blood tests that doctors use to assess a patient. While blood tests cannot absolutely identify a cancer diagnosis (other than blood-related cancer), the laboratory results help doctors narrow the scope of the possibilities that a patient is experiencing. It allows them to do further testing like a biopsy or a urinalysis to properly diagnose each patient correctly.
- A Complete Blood Count calculates the number of blood cells and gauge abnormalities.
- Tumor Marker Tests detect chemicals present when there are tumor cells in the body.
- Blood Protein Testing uses an electrophoresis process to analyze proteins in the blood.
- Circulating Tumor Cell Tests detect singular cells no longer attached to the cancer site.
Cancer Pain Assessment Tools
Based on pain management guidelines, it is important for all doctors to use assessment tools to gauge the level of pain each patient is experiencing. It will help each patient to learn cancer pain assessment tools so that you track your pain levels so that there is a record of changes. Some questions you may ask include the severity of the pain, the type of pain (dull or strong), where it is located, what increases or decreases it, what you were doing when it started, and what you did to relieve the pain (pain medication, hot bath, or massage). Did it help any of the symptoms? A patient should also use an assessment scale between zero and ten to measure the pain level.
Cancer Pain Medication
The use of cancer pain medication is not an absolute for our patients since we take a multidisciplinary approach to cancer pain management that includes pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, aquatic therapy, acupuncture, meditation, biofeedback, and mental health. Our approach to chronic pain depends solely on what each patient experiences as well as how best we can utilize our services to help each of our patients individually treat the cause of the pain.
It is also important for Dr. Achampong to consider all methods available for cancer pain management strategies. Some patients need surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation for treatment but will also cause pain as well in some cases. In other cases, some patients may only require OTC pain relievers like Advil or aspirin. Other patients require prescription opioids including codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, fentanyl, methadone, and oxymorphone.
If you want to learn more about cancer pain management, call us at 301-926-8400 (Crofton), 410-881-7644 (Prince Frederick), or 443-672-2600 (Salisbury), or visit us on our Facebook page.