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What You Need to Know About Cancer Pain

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  • Pain is not always part of having cancer.
  • Cancer pain can almost always be controlled.
  • You have a right to pain relief, and you should insist on it.

There are many different medicines and methods available to control cancer pain. If you’re in pain and your doctor has run out of treatment options, ask to see a pain specialist or have your doctor consult with a pain specialist.

  • Controlling your pain is part of the overall treatment for cancer.
  • Preventing pain from starting or getting worse is the best way to control it.

Pain is best relieved when treated early. Don’t try to hold off as long as possible between doses. Pain may get worse if you wait, it may take longer for your medicines to work, or you may need larger doses of medicine to get pain relief.

  • Telling your doctor or nurse about pain is not a sign of weakness.

Not everyone feels pain in the same way. In fact, as soon as you have any pain you should speak up. Remember that it’s easier to control pain when it first starts rather than waiting until it becomes severe.

  • People who take cancer pain medicines, as prescribed by the doctor, don’t need to worry about becoming addicted to the drugs. Stronger medicines should not be saved for later.
  • Most people do not get "high" or lose control when they take cancer pain medicines as prescribed by the doctor.
  • Side effects from pain medicines can be managed or often prevented.

Having cancer does not always mean having pain. For those with pain, there are many different kinds of medicines, ways to take the medicines, and non-drug methods that can help ease any pain you may have. You should not accept pain as a normal part of having cancer. When your pain is under control, it’s easier for you to continue with and cope with cancer treatment. You can also sleep and eat better, enjoy the company of family and friends, and continue with your work and hobbies.

Talk to your cancer care team about any pain you have and get the help you need.

Para solicitar información en español, llame al 1-800-227-2345. Un especialista en información sobre el cáncer le asistirá en español.

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