New Treatments for Cancer Pain
Cancer pain may be caused by the growth or destruction of tissues near cancerous cells. Pain can come from the cancer itself, or it can affect nearby areas in the body where cancer cells have spread. Some people with cancer do not experience pain while others have tumors that put pressure on bones, organs, and nerves, which results in pain. The following is a list of treatments that may be able to help.
1. Intraspinal drug infusion systems are designed to deliver medication directly to the area of pain. A medical professional inserts a pump that provides a small amount of pain medication directly to the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Pain medication can also be delivered through external pumps that are attached to an article of clothing.
2. Radiation is not only used to treat cancer itself; it may also be used to manage pain. Radiation may not be able to cure cancer, but it can be used to shrink the tumor, which helps alleviate pain. Radiation treatment usually comes after chemotherapy in most treatment plans.
3. Nerve blocks are available to provide pain relief for up to a year at a time. They work by injecting local anesthetics near the affected nerves and interrupting the transmission of pain signals from nerves to the brain. Neurolysis is another long-term treatment plan that uses phenol to block pain signals for up to six months.
4. Adjuvant drug therapies are not traditionally considered as part of cancer pain treatment, but they can be used to help reduce pain through indirect methods. Examples include the use of antidepressants, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and other psychotic drugs that affect pain perception in the brain or reduce inflammation.