Sleeping Problems

If the patient can't sleep, try to determine whether it's because of pain, anxiety, night sweats, fear of urinating, or other reasons. To help monitor a sleep problem, try to keep track of how long it takes to fall asleep, how long sleep lasts, how many times premature awakening occurs and why, whether returning to sleep is problematic, and how rested the patient feels in the morning. Counseling, applying practical tips, and using medication may help manage insomnia, especially when anxiety or...

Mouth or Throat Sores

Chemotherapy, radiation, reduced intake of liquids or food, altered hygiene, and infection can all contribute to mouth sores or inflammation in the mouth. The sores may be like canker sores or they can be open ulcers, both of which may bleed or get infected. They may make eating painful and difficult but are often overlooked. The need for mouth care may present an opportunity rather than be viewed as just a problem, according to some authorities. Sometimes, when patients are very sick, loving...

Skin Problems

Chemicals produced by the tumor, side effects of treatment, dehydration, and even anxiety or boredom may cause or aggravate dry, itchy skin, a condition known as pruritus. To relieve it, patients should Use water-based moisturizers and avoid oil-based ones. Use these moisturizers after bathing and every night. Drink plenty of fluids (eight to ten glasses a day). Protect skin from wind, heat, hot sun, and cold. Avoid hot baths and soap. Use soothing bath solutions that include cornstarch, baking...

How Cancer Pain Undermines Health and Treatment

To be struck with cancer, or to have a loved one afflicted with cancer, is one of the most frightening events imaginable. To endure the dehumanizing pain of cancer without relief is overwhelming. To helplessly witness that anguish in a loved one is heartbreaking. To discover later, however, that the suffering might have been prevented is perhaps the worst of all. Uppermost in the minds of many cancer victims are fears and anxiety about pain. We are now finally entering an era in which these...

Cutting the Wires Nerve Blocks and Neurosurgery Temporary Nerve Blocks

Nerve blocks can be as simple as the shot of novocaine dentists use to numb a tooth. By injecting a drug near the path of a nerve, you can block the transmission of painful signals before they reach the spinal cord and brain. Such blocks are used for minor surgery and sometimes for chronic pain, such as from a back injury. An epidural nerve block, used commonly for labor pain, provides more extensive pain relief because the anesthetic (numbing medicine) is injected into the epidural space, a...

Methods to Promote Relaxation

Because stress, muscular tension, spasm, distress, and the body's responses to these phenomena (sweating, increased blood pressure, changes in brain chemicals and blood flow, or heart rate) can increase pain and make it harder to deal with, techniques to reduce these negative feelings may help alleviate pain. Some conditions such as irritable bowel, headache, and muscle spasm may be direct results of tension states. Even when pain is unrelated to tension, relaxing muscles can prevent or...

The Fetzer Institute

For general information on mind-body research. 9292 West KL Avenue Kalamazoo, MI 49009 269-375-2000 E-mail info fetzer.org www.fetzer.org To obtain referrals close to your area, contact American Academy of Medical Acupuncture 800-521-2262 http www.medicalacupuncture.org American Association of Oriental Medicine 5530 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1210 Chevy Chase, MD 20815 301-941-1064 or 888-500-7999 Fax 301-986-9313 E-mail info aaom.org http www.aaom.org http www.medical-acupuncture.co.uk National...

Drug Therapy The Cornerstone of Pain Treatment

Who Pain Ladder 2016

Pain medications are used commonly for acute or chronic pain for patients of all ages, including infants and the elderly, and will relieve pain in about 90 percent of cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) began a revolution in cancer pain therapies with its recommended ladder of medications for the appropriate sequence of therapies. It suggests that doctors treat mild cancer pain with mild painkillers and progress to more potent ones as needed, adding supplemental medications that can...

Common Drugs Used for Cancer Pain and Foreign Names for the Drugs

Canada, South Africa, and other NSAIDs Feldene Candyl Fensaid Mobiiis Pirox Feldene Larapam Piroflam, Flamatrol Novonaprox, Naxen, Apo-Napro-NA, Apo-Naproxen (Can.) Proxen, Naproflam (Ger.) Naprius, Xenar, Primerai, Prexan (Italy) Traumox (South Africa) Voltarol Rhumalgan Diclomax Motifene Fortfen, Flexagen, Panamor, Sodiclo (South Africa) Orudis Oruvail, Ketovail Ketocid Alrheumat Apo- Sulin (Can.) R-Flex (South Africa) Combination products for mild to moderate pain (weak opioids) Aspirin +...

Why Cancer Hurts

Pain is caused either by the effects of the cancer treatments (such as chemotherapy, surgical scarring, and radiation), the effects of the tumor's growth (intruding on neighboring tissues or invading other tissues distant from the tumor's primary site), other conditions that occur along with the cancer (such as herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles, a condition that chemotherapy patients are more susceptible to, or back pain from prolonged bed rest), or side...

Breathing Problems

Difficulty breathing is generally referred to as dyspnea and may include a variety of altered patterns of breathing. Hyperventilation, or rapid breathing (sometimes also called tachypnea or hyperpnea), is a normal response to illness and stress, but it is an inefficient form of breathing. When breathing excessively fast, there is no time to take a deep breath. Most of these shallow breaths go only in and out of the mouth and throat without enough air getting to the lungs, where the actual...

Ways to Take Opioids

Although taking opioids by mouth is preferred, patients can't always reliably swallow pills or liquids. This may be because too many pills are required, patients' mouths are too dry, they are nauseated, their intestines are blocked, or they are unable to swallow. Many patients with advanced cancer are likely to use, at one time or another, two or three different methods for receiving medication as their condition changes. Liquid, syrup, lozenges, or tablets are usually preferred because...

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is relatively uncommon in cancer patients and may actually result from the overzealous use of laxatives. The presence of diarrhea may require the physician to perform a brief manual rectal examination to be certain there is not a blockage around which liquid stool is leaking. Diarrhea may occur in conjunction with chemotherapy (especially 5-fluorouracil 5-FUJand rinotecan CPT-11 or Camptosar ), or with radiation treatments to the abdomen or pelvis. It may persist for several weeks...