Pain Management

Mesothelioma Pain Management

Mesothelioma is a very advanced form of cancer acquired due to asbestos exposure. It is a very painful and crippling disease, both physically and psychologically and because of the treatment regiments use to slow the growth of tumors; radiation, chemotherapy, surgeries etc. pain management will be one of its biggest challenge. Being prepared, as the disease progresses and willing to accept that the patient in most cases will not recover, is a frightening and horrifying reality. Not confronting the issue of pain and being willing to ensure that the patient is made as comfortable and pain tolerant as possible through the entire process, should be the caregivers number one concern. Discussions about treatment options, experimental drug therapy and alternative therapies are important and have their place in the considered treatments, but controlling the pain associated mesothelioma is in our mind the most import factor and quality of life concern for the patient.

What is Pain Management

Pain management focuses on reducing pain and improving the overall quality of life through an integrative approach to care. Pain management is especially important for those with advanced stage cancers like mesothelioma where patients are more likely to experience severe pain.  According to the National Cancer Institute, up to 90 percent of cancer patients get relief from relatively simple pain management therapies. Most of the pain associated with mesothelioma can be attributed to the build- up of fluids and the fibrous tumors that occurs through asbestos exposure and inhalation. Pressure exerted on organs, tissues, nerves and bones exhibit a tremendous amount of discomfort and pain. Treatment therapies such as radiation, chemotherapy and surgery used to slow the progression of the disease, add to the already exacerbated condition of the patient and a good pain management regiment will significantly reduce their overall effect.

There are a variety of modalities used to treat pain including prescription medications, implant pain pumps, TENS, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, acupuncture, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, massage therapy, meditation, nutrition therapy, sleep therapy, yoga and general chiropractic manipulation will reduce pain and help improve the patient’s quality of life. Pain toleration and pain thresholds are different in most patients and caregivers need to be sensitive to the levels of pain each individual mesothelioma patient can handle. Sometimes there is a general reluctance on the part of some male mesothelioma patients to admit to the level of pain they can tolerate. Toleration is about experiencing pain and foregoing the proper relief necessary for the pain to subside is not in the best medical interest of the patient. Mesothelioma is a painful and serious disease and the pain associated is also very serious.

Prescription medications used in the treatment of mesothelioma are palliative in nature since no cure exists for the disease. Almost all prescription medications used in the treatment of pain associated with mesothelioma have side effects including nausea, vomiting, constipation, drowsiness, lack of energy, lack of appetite and lightheadedness. Patients, doctors and caregivers need be cognizant of the amount of pain medication needed to control the pain associated with this disease.