How do I Relieve Cancer Pain?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
A diagram of normal blood and blood from someone with leukemia, a type of cancer.
A diagram of normal blood and blood from someone with leukemia, a type of cancer.

There are many ways to relieve cancer pain. In some cases, treatment to remove or destroy cancerous tumors may help to make you less uncomfortable. If your doctors cannot remove tumors or you are in pain while awaiting surgery, you may find that a range of medication helps to relieve your pain. For example, you may take oral medications such as aspirin, codeine, or oxycodone to relieve pain caused by cancer. If you cannot swallow pain relievers, or keep them down, your doctor may administer pain medication intravenously or prescribe medications that are inserted into the rectum or dispensed through a patch. Nerve blocks and alternative treatments such as acupuncture may also be used to treat cancer pain.

An individual with stomach cancer may experience a lack of appetite.
An individual with stomach cancer may experience a lack of appetite.

Depending on the intensity of your pain, you may be advised to take an over-the-counter or prescription medication to relieve cancer pain. For example, if you would rate your pain as mild to moderate, you may be able to use such over-the-counter pain relievers as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen to treat it. For moderate-to-severe pain, you may find that prescription drugs such as codeine help. If your pain symptoms are severe, however, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications, such as morphine or oxycodone instead.

For those experiencing mild pains, over-the-counter painkillers, like aspirin, may be enough to provide relief.
For those experiencing mild pains, over-the-counter painkillers, like aspirin, may be enough to provide relief.

Oral medications are usually preferred for treating cancer pain, but there may be some cases in which it is necessary to use other methods of administering them. For example, if you cannot swallow medication, you may need another method of getting a pain reliever into your body. Likewise, if pain medication upsets your stomach, your doctor may suggest another method of administering pain relievers. In such a case, your doctor may deliver a pain reliever through a vein or may administer it through your rectum. Some types of medication can even be administered through a patch you wear on your skin.

Alternative treatments such as acupuncture may help alleviate cancer and other severe pain.
Alternative treatments such as acupuncture may help alleviate cancer and other severe pain.

Your doctor may also recommend pain control treatments for relieving cancer pain. For example, he may suggest a nerve block to help you to feel more comfortable. In such a case, a pain relieving drug is injected either into a nerve in your body or into the area that surrounds it. This method of treatment may block pain signals from traveling to your brain. When this works as expected, it can provide good cancer pain relief.

You may also try alternative methods of relieving cancer pain. For example, you may try therapeutic massages or acupuncture for this purpose. Relaxation exercises may help as well. In fact, you may even find that laughter helps to relieve cancer pain.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • A diagram of normal blood and blood from someone with leukemia, a type of cancer.
      By: Alila
      A diagram of normal blood and blood from someone with leukemia, a type of cancer.
    • An individual with stomach cancer may experience a lack of appetite.
      By: psdesign1
      An individual with stomach cancer may experience a lack of appetite.
    • For those experiencing mild pains, over-the-counter painkillers, like aspirin, may be enough to provide relief.
      By: blueskies9
      For those experiencing mild pains, over-the-counter painkillers, like aspirin, may be enough to provide relief.
    • Alternative treatments such as acupuncture may help alleviate cancer and other severe pain.
      By: Alliance
      Alternative treatments such as acupuncture may help alleviate cancer and other severe pain.