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Cancer Pain

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Cancer Pain


Most of the pain experienced by cancer patients is from the cancer itself as it spreads to organs, bone or nerves. In addition, cancer treatments themselves can cause pain. In either case, the pain associated with cancer can be relieved with medicine and other treatments.
Taking care of pain is important to the quality of life for cancer patients and should be a part of good cancer care. Pain relief will help cancer patients feel stronger and better able to cope with their disease and its treatments.

Chemotherapy Neuropathy


Chemotherapy neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy (injury to the nerves that give messages to and from the brain and spinal cord) that is due to the medications involved in chemotherapy.  Patients undergoing chemotherapy who already suffer from peripheral neuropathy are at greatest risk of developing this.  Symptoms include numbness, pins and needles sensation, burning pain, and weakness.  Any area of the body can be affected but the fingers and toes are the most common.  Treatment includes protection of the area affected, use of B vitamins, physical therapy, TENS units, biofeedback, and medications such as analgesics, anti-depressants, and anti-seizure medications.

Radiation Neuropathy


Radiation neuropathy is the development of peripheral neuropathy in patients who have undergone radiation therapy as the radiation caused damage to the peripheral nerves.  Symptoms include numbness, pins and needles sensation, burning pain, and weakness.  Treatment includes protection of the area affected, use of B vitamins, physical therapy, TENS units, biofeedback, and medications such as analgesics, anti-depressants, and ant-seizure medications.

Implantable Pump Therapy




In patients with cancer pain or intractable chronic pain that is not responsive to oral medications, injections, or surgery, an implantable pump that delivers medication into the spinal canal may be used.  Our company uses Medtronic equipment for all implantable pumps.  The pump consists of a small reservoir and battery that is implanted into the posterior hip and a catheter that connects to the reservoir and is inserted into the area around the spinal cord (intrathecal space) where it delivers the medication.  The perks of the system are that only a very small amount of medication is used in comparison to oral medications because of where the medicine is delivered.  The pump is programmable to increase or decrease the amount of medication delivered, and is fully reversible, that is, the system can be taken out completely if desired.  The medications used can be opioid pain medication, anesthetic to help numb the pain, anti-spasmodics for muscle spasms, and medications for nerve pain.  Typically, a combination of these medications is used.  Depending on how much medicine is delivered per day will determine how often the pump will need to be refilled.  Refills are performed in the office by our trained staff.  This treatment therapy is an excellent choice for patients who want better control of their pain without increasing their oral pain medication doses.

Pumps may also be used for spasticity such as in Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and spasticity resulting from either brain or spinal cord injury. The medication used is Baclofen, a muscle relaxant that helps decrease muscular rigidity.