What are some ways to control pain from breast cancer?

Because of the complex nature of cancer-related pain, successful pain management usually involves a combination of techniques to seek a balance between pain relief and quality of life.
  • One therapeutic approach, pharmacological pain control, involves the use of medications. Some common breast cancer pain medications include anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics and steroids.
  • In addition, breast cancer patients often experience neuropathic pain, particularly after breast cancer surgery. Your pain management practitioner will consult with other members of your care team to provide nerve injections, implanted pain pumps or nerve stimulation devices like transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) to help promote nerve regeneration.
  • Other breast cancer pain control options may include palliative treatments to improve your comfort and quality of life. For example, for breast cancer that has spread to the liver, radiation therapy may help to reduce the size of the tumor on the liver. If you experience pleural effusion (abnormal fluid build-up around the lungs), a thoracentesis can drain fluid that surrounds the lungs and help you breathe better.
Aside from your oncologists, your breast cancer pain management practitioner will also consult regularly with the complementary medicine clinicians in your care team to balance pain medicine with supportive options, such as oncology rehabilitation therapies, naturopathic medicine and mind-body medicine.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.