What to do about cancer pain

Back to Cancer Resources

What to do about cancer pain

Is pain inevitable when you have cancer? Can treatment cause pain? Is it worth mentioning discomfort to your oncologist? Or is only severe pain of real concern?

Our new free Pocket Guide to Cancer Pain is part of our Integrative Cancer Care series of tools for patients, caregivers, and health care providers. It features an integrative health approach, which means adding non-drug approaches, self-care, and behavioral approaches in addition to conventional treatment and medications.

A whole person approach to managing pain

Pain specialists know there are many ways to manage this particular symptom, in addition to pharmaceuticals. For example, certain exercise can relieve muscle pain and tension. You can also use special devices that interrupt nerve signals that send pain to your brain. Massage, acupuncture, and breathing techniques can all relieve pain, too. Our pocket guide includes a free tool to help you navigate solutions for mind and body relief.

Is it important to quit your medication?

No, it may not be necessary or helpful. Those of us who look for body, mind, and spirit solutions sometimes receive more advice from caring friends and family members than we ask for, and you may hear that you should manage cancer pain entirely without drugs. However, part of finding solutions is finding the ones that work best for you! Integrative health involves finding your best options, incorporating conventional medicine and alternative modalities. You may add non-drug pain control methods to reduce the amount of medication that you take, allow you to take different medications, or take them less often.

The other “big C”—cannabis

Cannabis, CBD, THC, medical marijuana—these solutions for cancer pain and other effects of cancer and treatment have never been more popular or available. Our free Pocket Guide to Cancer Pain explains what your doctor can and cannot do, what we know so far, and what your options may be. Of course, using these products may be different if you are working during treatment or vary depending on what type of job you do.

Managing inflammation, pain & cancer

If you are interested in learning more about the interplay between cancer, pain, and inflammation, you can watch a recording of my presentation at the Women in Pain Conference hosted by For Grace. My talk is about 20 minutes and can be seen at this link. I cover how chronic inflammation is connected to both cancer and pain, and I explore some solutions that can help. The rest of the half-day conference is available to view freely as well and includes other experts’ views on being an advocate for yourself and your loved ones and the role of lifestyle changes in preventing secondary cancer.

Free Guide to Managing Pain When You Have Cancer

Be sure to download the new pocket guide about managing pain when you or a loved one has cancer. It includes discussions of all of the questions above and more. Should you try to handle pain without medication? Are you doing something wrong if you have pain, and does looking for palliative care mean your cancer cannot be cured? Find the answers to all these questions in our free downloadable guide filled with links to integrative practices that can help relieve and manage pain. You may want to share it with your oncologist and others on your health-care team. Download the free guide.