A diagnosis of mesothelioma is devastating to patients and their loved ones. The initial horror is usually focused on the very short life expectancy that comes with the disease. For most patients, the fear of death is quickly surpassed by the knowledge that those last few months of life will crawl by slowly due to the agonizing pain. Pain management is a vital component of mesothelioma treatment at all stages of the disease. Uncontrolled pain reduces the effectiveness of other treatments and destroys what little quality of life you have left. If your doctor does not take pain management seriously or is resistant to addressing your pain effectively, find one who will.
It is true that in the end stages of mesothelioma most patients suffer extreme pain that does not respond to any amount of medication and cannot be kept at bay. However, that does not mean that you should resign yourself to the pain. Pain management is a primary part of mesothelioma treatment, and there are many effective ways to reduce and or even alleviate the pain and discomfort.
If you are in pain, talk to your doctor about an effective pain management program. This will normally include pain relief medications and other therapies. If you are already taking pain medication and you are still in pain or they stop working, do not hesitate to tell your doctor that you need something more effective. Most doctors will start you out with the mildest pain relievers that they believe will work, and gradually increase the potency as the disease and your pain levels progress. It is up to you to tell your doctor when it is time to go to the next level.
Mesothelioma pain is caused by the disease and the treatment.
Tumors put pressure on organs, bones, and nerves. The size of the tumor is not always important. A very small tumor can cause the most excruciating pain if it is pressing on a nerve.
Fluid build-up puts pressure on your organs as well, and then they put pressure on other organs causing pain in other parts of the body. People with pleural mesothelioma often experience pelvic pain for this reason.
Secondary conditions, such as bowel obstruction caused by peritoneal mesothelioma, can cause severe pain.
Mesothelioma treatment is often aggressive and very harsh. The treatments can include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. These treatments can cause their own pain and can affect your body in a way that lowers its ability to combat pain.
When talking to your doctor about your pain, you can better guide your treatment if you know some of the terms which describe the type of pain you are experiencing.
Acute pain is an attack of pain which comes on quickly, and is often severe, but is not ongoing.
Chronic pain is persistent. It can be mild to severe, and in most cases, it gets progressively worse over the long haul but tends to fluctuate on a day-to-day basis.
Breakthrough pain is the pain you experience when you are already taking medication for chronic pain. If you regularly experience breakthrough pain, talk to your doctor about upping your dose or changing medications.
Mesothelioma pain is addressed in several ways, and your doctor may refer you to a pain management specialist to handle this very important aspect of treatment. Pain medications are just one part of controlling the pain.
Learn more by reading about Pain Management.
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