Cancer of the pancreas and its treatment may lead to pain. Your doctor or a specialist in pain control can suggest ways to relieve or reduce pain, and the earlier pain is treated, the easier it is to manage. Tools like chemoWave can help you track your pain, share your symptoms with your doctor, and provide insights to optimize your treatment. You may also wish to ask if your hospital has a palliative care team to help relieve the symptoms, stress, and pain associated with treatment.
There are many ways to relieve or reduce pain:
- Pain medicine: Your health care team can suggest medicines that will relieve pain. A common side effect of pain medication is constipation. If you have constipation or other side effects from your pain medicine, your health care team can help provide some solutions.
- Celiac plexus block, or nerve block: Abdominal pain is a common symptom in cancers of the pancreas as the tumor can press on nerves near the pancreas, causing pain in the abdomen or back. Abdominal pain is often hard to treat and one method is to inject alcohol into the area around the celiac nerves, those often being pressed on by the tumor. The celiac plexus block damages the nerves that send pain messages to the brain, providing relief. If you are already undergoing surgery, this can often be done as part of the same procedure.
- Other methods: Each person’s pain response is different and alternative treatments could provide you with pain relief. You may find that massage or acupuncture works best, or relaxation, meditation, hypnosis, music therapy, or biofeedback might be most effective. Ask your doctor about alternative approaches to pain management.
- Cannabis: Another alternative pain treatment is medicinal cannabis. Known to help cancer patients with a wide range of side effects including, loss of appetite, pain, sleeplessness and nausea, medicinal cannabis has become a more commonly accepted treatment.