MANAGING PAIN RELATED TO Breast Cancer TREATMENT
This section discusses the management of pain related to breast cancer treatment.Find information on the management of pain related to metastatic breast cancer.
Pain related to treatment:For most people, any pain from breast cancer treatment is temporary and goes away after treatment ends. Some people, however, can have pain for longer periods of time.
What is pain management? The goal of pain management is to give the most pain control with the least amount of therapy (to limit side effects).
When is pain management important? Pain control is always important. Throughout your care, you should never hesitate to let your health care provider know about any pain or discomfort you have.Pain is not the same for everyone. People who have similar therapy can react differently, with some feeling more pain than others.
Pain related to surgery: Pain right after surgery is usually due to injury to the skin or muscles. It may be treated with mild pain relievers such as ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Although you can get these medications without a prescription, check with your provider before taking them as they may interfere with chemotherapy or other treatment. There may be other medical reasons you should not take them.
Axillary dissection: Pain is more likely when breast surgery includes the removal of lymph nodes in the underarm area (axillary dissection). Twenty-five to 70 percent of women have some degree of pain following axillary dissection .
Nerve pain: In about 25 percent of women, the nerves in the surrounding tissues are injured during breast surgery . This can lead to persistent burning or shooting pain in the area of the surgical scar and/or the underarm area on the affected side.
Pain related to radiation therapy: The treated breast may also be rough to the touch, red (like a sunburn) and a little swollen. Sometimes the skin may peel, as if it were sunburned. Your radiation oncologist may suggest special creams to ease this discomfort.
Pain related to chemotherapy: Tell your health care provider if you have this type of pain or numbness. He/she may want to change your chemotherapy plan to ease these symptoms. Your provider may also prescribe mild pain relievers or other medications to ease the pain or numbness.
Pain related to lymphedema: Pain related to lymphedema after breast cancer treatment can be relieved through treatment of the lymphedema itself.
Social support and pain: Pain from breast cancer treatment can be difficult to explain to family and friends. This can lead to feelings of frustration and isolation.