Stem Cells Library , Mesothelioma Library
As a person's cancer advances, he or she may experience a number of symptoms. These symptoms may include pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, constipation, trouble breathing, confusion, nausea, vomiting, cough and dry or sore throat. All of these symptoms can be managed with appropriate treatment. A person who has cancer shouldn't try to "be strong" and tolerate pain or other symptoms. Doing so can have a negative effect on the person's physical and emotional state. For this reason, a person who has cancer should tell the doctor about any symptoms he or she is having.
Pain is one of the most common symptoms experienced by people who have cancer. Even if it is severe, the pain can almost always be controlled with medicine. Each person responds to pain differently, The doctor will create a pain management plan that meets the person's needs. Pain medicines can be given by mouth (liquid or pill) or through the rectum (suppository). They can also be given through the skin (transdermal patch) or injected into the skin, a muscle or a vein. The caregiver should know that chronic (ongoing) pain must be treated on a regular schedule. It is important not to wait until the person feels pain before giving the next dose, even if this means waking him or her up in the middle of the night.
For some people, the doctor may prescribe an opioid medicine, such as morphine or codeine, to relieve pain. Opioid pain medicines often cause constipation (difficulty having bowel movements), so the person who has cancer may also need to take another medicine on a regular basis to prevent this common side effect. The person in pain may be worried about getting "hooked" on an opioid pain medicine. However, addiction to pain medicine is very rare in people who have cancer.
It may take several tries for the doctor to find the most effective way to ease pain symptoms. The person in pain shouldn't feel discouraged if a particular approach doesn't work. The doctor needs to know about the person's preferences for how pain symptoms are managed. Helping to direct the course of his or her care may help the person who has cancer feel more in control of the situation.