Cancer pain is usually managed by general practitioners, oncologists, haematologists, and palliative care physicians, however often a referral to a pain medicine specialist is required. This may be due to unacceptable side effects or ineffectiveness of medications, or when advanced techniques and procedures are being considered.
Cancer treatment is becoming more successful and many cancer sufferers are living for years or even decades longer than they would have in the past.
Survivors and those still receiving curative or palliative treatment frequently experience ongoing pain and suffering, sometimes as a consequence of the cancer itself and often as a result of the cancer treatment. This includes but is not limited to: chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, pathological fractures, radiation mucositis, nerve root compression, chronic post-surgical pain, and medication associated side effects like lethargy, impaired cognition, nausea or loss of appetite.
While cancer pain is frequently difficult to treat, there have been significant developments in treatment in recent years.
- Antineuropathic medications including anticonvulsants: pregabalin (Lyrica), gabapentin (Neurontin), carbamazepine (Tegretol); and antidepressant medications: amitryptylline (Endep), nortryptylline (Allegron), duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Efexor), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
- Opioids and related drugs: tapentadol (Palexia), oxycodone (Endone, Targin, Oxycontin), buprenorphine (Norspan, Temgesic), fentanyl (Durogesic)
- Anti-emetics / anti-nausea medications: metoclopramide (Maxolon), 5HT-3 antagonists (Ondansetron, Tropisetron)
- Others: botulinum toxin, local anaesthetics (lignocaine), pamidronate, ketamine, corticosteroids (Dexamethasone, Cortisone, Prednisone)osteoarthritic pain medications can be particularly effective
- Psychological and physical therapy
- DRG stimulation
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Neurolytic procedures (phenol, alcohol or thermal neurolysis)
QPain are actively involved in ongoing research and multi-centre clinical trials to ensure priority access to the latest therapies for our patients. We are at the forefront of advanced technology, including Spinal Cord Stimulation and Regenerative therapy, in the treatment of chronic pain.
Effective pain management can improve a cancer patient’s quality of life and help them to fight their disease and forms an important part of any cancer treatment program.
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“It’s vital to work with a physician who specialises in pain medicine to help identify the source of your pain and develop the best method of treatment.”
Dr Frank Thomas