One of the most common characteristics of mesothelioma, if not the most, is pain.
The increase in pain is linked to the growth of the cancer with mild pain and discomfort in the chest and giving way to increasing pain as the cancer progresses.
People reporting poor response to conventional pain mangement treatments with the side-effects of other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation bring their own pains.
Accompanying these expected pains there is psychological pain associated with knowing that you have mesothelioma and wondering how this is impacting on your loved ones.
Like other mesothelioma treatments there has to be a personalizatoion of pain management that can reflect the needs of the patient and overcome the side-effects of varying treatments.
Pain is usually categorized in three types: chronic (mild to severe and persists over time), acute (sudden, severe and short in duration) and breakthrough (experiencing pain the pain is usually controlled by medication).
The type of pain and what is believed to be causing it will largely detrmine how it is treated. The first rule to remember though is to tell your medical team about the pain as there is no benefit to enduring it. Unmaneged pain can cause problems sleeping, limit movement, affect your appetite and increase depression - all factors that can adversely impact your ability to benefit from treatments.
As well as the pain relief that may occur from treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy your medical team have a whole slew of pain management treatments that are continuously being added to.
Options include the use of medications/anesthesia (oral, intravenous, suppository) that come in varying types: non-opioids (non-narcotic for mild/moderate pain), opioids (narcotic for moderate/severe pain) and rapid-onset opioids (narcotics for breakthrough pain).
As well as epidurals, nerve blocks and implanted pain pumps there is the option of neurosurgery to manage pain by either altering nerve routes or to implant drug-delivery devices.
There are also alternative and complementary methods
that are claimed to help manage pain. Relaxation by methods such as meditation or listening to music may also help as could physical therapy to aid mobility.
Although pain is synonymous with mesothelioma no one should endure unmanageable pain. If you want to explore this issue further there are pain management resources here
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