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Do You Know What Is Cancer Pain?

By Nupur Jha

Cancer is one disease which may affect one's life adversely if not detected at the early stages. If we follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, we can definitely reduce the risk of contracting cancer.

What Is Cancer Pain?

Pain is not a part of cancer but it is often caused by cancer itself. When a tumour presses on nerves, bones or any part of the body, it triggers pain. Some chemotherapy drugs can also cause tingling, numbing and burning sensation in the limbs of the cancer patients. If a cancer patient experiences any pain, the care keepers and doctors should come up with an effective management plan to relieve the patient of the pain. According to the American Cancer Society, various types of medications are available to cure the pain in addition to non-drug methods.

Do You Know What Is Cancer Pain?

Cancer pain can be divided into 3 categories:

1. Acute Pain
2. Chronic Pain
3. Breakthrough Pain

1. Acute Pain - It occurs when the body somehow injures itself, and the pain goes away as the wound heals. This pain is intense and remains for a short span of time.

2. Chronic Pain - Also known as persistent pain, this lasts for a longer duration of time which is often more than 3 months. This pain can be severe or even mild, as it doesn't go away and it needs to be treated properly with the help of medication.

3. Breakthrough Pain - This pain occurs despite the cancer patient taking medication to relieve his chronic pain. The intensity of this pain can't be anticipated, but it is described to be worse than the chronic pain. It can last for as long as an hour and recur multiple times on the same day.

The different types of cancer pains are:

1. Bone Pain: This is a kind of somatic pain caused by the cancer in a specified region or in various areas of the body. This kind of pain is described as sharp, gnawing, cramping and aching.

2. Nerve Pain: Known as neuropathic pain, nerve pain is caused by pressure on the nerves, other organs of the body, spinal cord or by damaged nerves. The causes for this pain are chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other cancer treatments. Nerve pain has been described as burning, tingling or a feeling of crawling.

3. Phantom Pain: This pain refers to the pain in the region of the body from where a part has been removed. This pain is defined as unbearable and the exact cause of this pain is still not clearly known. For some people, this pain goes away within a few months, while some still feel the pain after a year or so. The patients should inform their doctor whenever they experience this pain as they can control it with the help of painkillers.

4. Soft Tissue Pain: It is also known as visceral pain, it takes place in muscles and organs. This pain is described as aching, sharp and cramping.

5. Referred Pain: When the pain of an organ in the body causes pain in another part of the body, then it is called referred pain.

Be it any kind of pain, it is important to communicate to the doctors about the intensity of the pain so that they can prescribe the pain killers accordingly. The pain can vary from person-to-person and some might require extra doses of painkillers to cope.

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