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Pain Management and Cancer

Pie Chart of Pain Management OptionsPain control during and after cancer treatments can involve various management approaches. Depending on the symptoms, one individual method or a combination of approaches may be utilized.

Palos Health is prepared to offer a team approach to pain management during and after cancer treatments to optimize quality of life for the cancer survivor.

One of the barriers to pain relief may be the patient. This often can be due to fears of opioids (narcotics) and their side effects – especially constipation, sedation, cognitive impairment, and addiction. Patients will often avoid seeking medication in an effort to be stoic and not complain about the pain and how their quality of life is being impacted. The misconception that pain medication, if taken too early, will lose its effectiveness if it is needed later, can also be an obstacle to seeking pain management therapy.

Pharmacologic Management

This is the World Health Organization’s 3-Step analgesia ladder:

  • Step 1: Pain scale 1-3 on a 0-10 pain scale / Non-Opioid medications include Tylenol, Aspirin and Motrin
  • Step 2: Pain scale 4-6 on a 0-10 pain scale / Opioids that may be added to this level are Tylenol #3 or Vicodin
  • Step 3: Pain scale 7-10 on a 0-10 pain scale / Opioids that may be used are Morphine or Dilaudid

Talk to your Oncologist or Healthcare Provider if you have pain or questions. They may treat your pain or refer you to a pain specialist. Palliative and Supportive Care specialists at Palos Health focus on symptom management for those that are living in pain caused by a serious illness.

For more information about these services, please call 708-923-5050.

Non-Pharmacologic Management

Pain during or after cancer treatments may be present due to malignant or non-malignant reasons. Oftentimes, it is the side effects from the cancer treatments that may be the cause of pain. These side effects may present during the treatment or in other cases may present months to years after. Causes of this type of pain can include, but are not limited to:

  • Scar tissue from previous surgeries and/or radiation
  • Chemo-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy
  • General deconditioning or impaired posture pain
  • Muscle tightness or impaired range of motion from previous surgery or radiation

In these cases, manual techniques or gentle exercises may be effective when performed by skilled providers. The Cancer Rehabilitation Program at Palos Health can assist in managing non-malignant pain during and after cancer treatments through conservative measures. For additional information, please call 708-923-5050.

Comprised of Rehabilitation professionals who are specialists in cancer care, the Cancer Rehabilitation Program aims to optimize Quality of Life for cancer survivors at any point along the continuum of care.

Supportive Care

Supportive care can come in various forms. Support groups and additional resources are available throughout our community.

Among the local services available include:
The American Cancer Society - 800-227-2345
The Cancer Support Center in Mokena - 708-478-3529
Gilda's Club in Oak Lawn - 708-684-9505
Wellness House in Hinsdale - 630-323-5150