If you are suffering from cancer, it’s likely you deal with a lot of pain. Unfortunately, there are so many different types of pain out there that it can be difficult to explain how cancer pain feels and how it’s different from other types. With cancer pain, there is not only the physical discomfort but the emotional aspect to consider, as well.
What Causes the Pain?
With pain related to cancer, there are a number of different causes. You can have cancer pain that is due to the tumor itself or the damage that it has done to the surrounding tissue or organs. There is also discomfort and pain associated with many cancer treatments. It’s important to understand that not everyone with cancer experiences pain, though a significant number do.
In some cases the pain you experience is associated with nerve damage. If nerves are damaged during your treatment or due to cancer itself, this can result in chronic pain. In addition, nerves could be signaling the brain that damage is either occurring or could occur. Nerve damage typically can’t be reversed and causes chronic pain.
How Is Cancer Pain Different?
There are different types of pain associated with cancer. The type of pain you experience can vary depending on the type of cancer you have and the specific way it affects your body. Bone pain is the most common type of discomfort associated with cancer. This happens when a tumor either grows into the bones or starts pressing against them. This is a deep, aching pain and is usually chronic.
Burning pain is also common for those with cancer. In some cases the tumor may be pressing on a nerve, causing a constant burning pain. Other times nerve damage due to surgery or chemotherapy causes this pain. If you have an area of your body removed due to cancer, such as a mastectomy for those with breast cancer, you may experience phantom pain. Phantom pain happens when nerve endings still send pain signals, even though the body part is gone.
What Can I Do?
If you’re experiencing cancer-related pain, make sure to check with your doctor on treatment options. Pain can be managed and doesn’t have to be a crippling experience. There are traditional methods of pain relief, such as steroids or nerve blockers. However, there are also other ways to work through your experience. Consider alternate options such as massage, acupuncture, or other natural pain relief remedies.
Pain due to cancer or the treatments you experience is stressful. It takes a toll on both your physical and mental health. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to deal with the pain on your own. You can work with your doctor to create a pain management path to help you overcome. In addition, counseling may help you deal with the mental toll that chronic pain causes. Look to your support system, and remember that whether you’re dealing with chronic or acute pain, there are treatment options available.