Pain is one of the most common symptoms in cancer patients. Pain can be caused by the cancer itself, cancer treatment, or a combination of factors. Associated with Cancer are Tumors, surgery, intravenous chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, supportive care therapies , and diagnostic procedures which can all cause pain.
Age plays a factor in pain caused by cancer as well. Younger people are more likely to have cancer pain and pain flares than older patients. Patients with advanced cancer have more severe pain, and many cancer survivors may have pain that continues after cancer treatment ends.
Most patients with cancer pain will need to utilize prescription opiate medication to control their pain.
Dr. Hong has experience managing pain associated with many different types of Cancers, within a diverse patient population. If needed, he will prescribe these medications and the times they should be taken in order to best control your pain. He will also detail to patients and family caregivers how to safely use, store, and dispose of opioids.
Receiving opioids on a regular schedule helps relieve the pain and keeps it from getting worse. The amount of time between doses depends on which opioid you are taking. The best dose is the amount of opioid that controls your pain with the fewest side effects. If opioid tolerance does occur (the opioid no longer works at the dose you are given), the dose may need to be increased or a different opioid may be prescribed.
Other drugs may be added to help treat your pain.
Other drugs may be prescribed along with opioids for pain relief. These are drugs that help the opioids work better, treat symptoms, and relieve certain types of pain. The following types of drugs may be used:
There are differences in how patients respond to these drugs. Side effects are common and Dr. Hong will work individually with each patient to make sure that they are achieving the most pain control with he least side effects. This process of “dialing in” the proper dosages can take time and attention to every detail. At Denver Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Hong make sure that all of his patients receive this high level of care.
The Treatment of Cancer Pain List of authors. Kathleen M. Foley, M.D.
July 11, 1985
N Engl J Med 1985; 313:84-95
Certain patients are helped by supportive, or palliative care providers. They work in teams that include doctors, nurses, mental health specialists, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists, and dietitians. The goals of supportive care are to, improve quality of life for patients and their families, manage pain and non-pain symptoms, and to support patients who need higher doses of opioids, have a history of substance use disorder, or are coping with emotional and social problems.
Physical medicine and rehabilitation
Patients with cancer and pain may lose their strength, freedom of movement, and ability to manage their daily activities. Physical medicine may help these patients. Physical medicine uses physical methods such as exercise, to prevent and treat disease or injury.
Dr. Hong does refer patients to a physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in physical medicine) when he feels that more interventional pain treatment is warranted.