Cancer-related pain can be either acute or chronic. Acute pain may be directly related to cancer (i.e., pathological fracture, obstruction), a side effect of the treatment (i.e., mucositis, neuropathy) or co-medications (i.e., pegfilgrastim). Chronic pain is usually due to the tumor itself (3/4 of cancer pain patients), but can also be due to treatment including chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation, surgery, or stem cell transplant.
Patients should be asked about pain, ongoing or new, at every visit and the subjective sensation of pain should be documented using a visual tool, such as the Visual Analog Scale (VAS). It is not uncommon for long term pain sufferers to underestimate the toll pain may be taking on day-to-day activities. Therefore, the practitioner should initiate this conversation.
Pain that is complex, ongoing, or poorly controlled should prompt a referral to a pain management specialist. Proper clinical assessment and imaging may be helpful to delineate the source of pain so that proper treatment can be determined. Naturopathic considerations are for mild pain or discomfort.
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Yours in Health,