Acute and chronic pain are among the most common symptoms of mesothelioma. Pain may arise from tumor growth, side effects from cancer treatments like radiation, or damaged tissue (often leading to difficulty breathing or swallowing).
How to Manage Mesothelioma Pain
Mesothelioma pain management is an important aspect of palliative care. In most cases, pain is controlled through medication, called pharmacological therapy. The type of drug and the method used to administer the medication will depend on the type, cause, and severity of the pain a patient experiences.
Common Drugs Used for Managing Cancer Pain
Non-opioids such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen are commonly used for the management of mild to moderate pain. Most of these drugs are available over the counter, but it is important to speak to a physician before using any of these medications, particularly if you are undergoing chemotherapy.
For moderate to severe pain, doctors may prescribe opioids, also known as narcotics, such as morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, and codeine. Opioids may be used in conjunction with non-opioids to treat severe pain. It is important to speak with your health care provider before taking any of these medications. Acquaint yourself with the possible risks and benefits associated with these and all drugs before beginning treatment.
In some cases of mesothelioma, pain may suddenly occur in addition to chronic pain. This breakthrough pain can be quickly alleviated by rapid-onset opioids such as immediate-release oral morphine. This is often used with long-acting opioids for persistent pain. The use of these drugs should be carefully monitored while managing cancer pain.
Side Effects of Medication for Mesothelioma Pain
Mesothelioma and lung cancer pain management medications can be administered in a number of ways, including oral ingestion, a transdermal (skin) patch, or through an injection. It is important to know that most medications have adverse side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fatigue. In some cases, more serious side-effects, such as cardiovascular complications, may develop. Call you doctor immediately if you experience any serious symptoms.
Mesothelioma Pain Therapy
There are also several non-pharmacological therapies available to patients suffering from chronic forms of mesothelioma and lung cancer pain. Management of symptoms can include therapeutic exercise, cognitive behavior techniques such as meditation, and some dietary changes. Newer mesothelioma treatments like acupuncture and massage therapy may also be useful in mesothelioma pain management. These tactics can help you curb long-term, chronic pain, but experiences of short-term severe pain should be discussed with a doctor.
If you would like to learn more about the treatment options available and find out whether your mesothelioma may be cause to contact a lawyer, contact us today. An attorney or expert can help you find the best legal and treatment options available to you.