When you or a loved one receives a diagnosis of cancer, it isn't long before you begin to think of the pain many people associate with cancer. It can be a frightening time. What will the pain be like? What will it do to our lives?
Studies show that pain, which can be caused by the disease itself or by treatments, is common in people with cancer, although not all people with cancer will experience pain. Approximately 30% to 50% of people with cancer experience pain while undergoing treatment, and 70% to 90% of people with advanced cancer experience pain.
Today, most concerns about cancer-related pain can be relieved by understanding the facts about cancer pain, and learning about the help that is available for pain relief:
•Cancer pain can be relieved. The World Health Organization reports that in 85%-97% of all cancer cases, pain can be controlled.
•Studies indicate that nearly half of those with cancer don’t get proper pain care even though much of that pain could be avoided or reduced.
•Chronic cancer pain can be successfully treated by about 95% of people with the drug and non-drug therapies that are currently available.
•Physical therapy also can relieve some cancer pain. Heat pads, massage, and things like guided imagery or Reiki may help too.
Every cancer patient who has experienced unrelieved pain can provide his or her own list of the damage pain can do to one's life, from sleep disturbances, exhaustion and inability to work, to increasing feeling of isolation from the world. Since pain is a subjective experience and the only person who truly knows what the pain is like is the one who is having it, good communication with your provider about the pain is an essential part of getting adequate pain treatment.
Take this opportunity and have your questions answered by our specialists, Mellar Davis, MD and Ellen King, MD. Drs. Davis and King will discuss different types and causes of cancer pain, how pain affects quality of life, ways to measure pain, and how best to communicate your experience of pain with your health care providers, family members, and others working with you.
Dr. Mellar P. Davis, MD, FCCP FAAHPM is a member of the Solid Tumor Division of the Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland Clinic. He is Director of the Palliative Medicine Program at the Cleveland Clinic. He has been chair of the Palliative Care Study Group of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care (MASCC) since 2007 and a board member of MASCC since 2010. He has been a Professor of Medicine in The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, since 2009. He was elected as a fellow to the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2010 and has been Editor in Chief of Progress on Palliative Care since 2008 and within the AAHPM Associate Editor in Chief of PC FACS (Fast Article Critical Summary for Clinicians in Palliative Care).
Ellen King, MD is a physician in the Department of Pain Management. She graduated medical school from University of Iowa College of Medicine. She was a resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, and completed a fellowship at Hospital of The University of Pennsylvania. Her specialty interests include: cancer pain, interventional pain management, complex regional pain syndrome, neuropathic pain, spinal cord stimulation, chronic back and neck pain, phantom limb pain, arthritis, musculoskeletal pain.
To make an appointment with Mellar Davis, MD, or any of the other specialists in our Taussig Cancer Institute at Cleveland Clinic, please call our Cancer Answer Line from 8 am – 5 pm EST 216.444.HOPE or call toll-free at 866.223.8100. You can also visit us online at www.clevelandclinic.org/cancer
To make an appointment with Dr.King or any of the other specialists in our Department of Pain Management at Cleveland Clinic, please call 216.444.PAIN(7246) or 800.392.3353. You can also visit us online at clevelandclinic.org/painmanagement