Guide to Controlling Cancer Pain

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What do I need to know about pain control?

This information is written to help people with cancer learn about pain control. Reading this can help you:

Having cancer does not always mean having pain. But for people who do have pain, there are many different kinds of medicines, different ways to take the medicines, and non-drug methods that can help relieve pain.

Pain can affect all parts of your life. If you have pain, you may not be able to take part in your normal day-to-day activities. You may have trouble sleeping and eating. You may be irritable with the people you love. It’s easy to get frustrated, sad, and even angry when you’re in pain. Family and friends don’t always understand how you’re feeling, and you may feel very alone in your distress.

You should never accept pain as a normal part of having cancer. All pain can be treated, and most pain can be controlled or relieved. When pain is controlled, people can sleep and eat better, enjoy being with family and friends, and continue with their work and hobbies.

Only you know how much pain you are in. Telling your cancer care team when you’re in pain is very important because pain is easier to treat when it first starts. Pain can also be an early warning sign of the side effects of cancer treatment or some other problem. Together, you and your cancer care team can talk about how to best treat your pain. You have the right to be treated for cancer pain, and you should insist on it.

Be sure you and your family members know how to contact the cancer care team anytime, day or night, and on weekends and holidays.

Last Medical Review: 07/15/2015
Last Revised: 07/15/2015