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What is Cancer Pain? Why suffer from it? – Part 1

14 Nov 2013

Having cancer does not always mean having physical pain. However, pain does occur in over 50% of cancer patients and at least 1/3 of these patients reported experiencing moderate to severe pain. Although cancer pain often cannot be entirely eliminated, at least some relief which enables daily activities is targeted as every cancer patient has the absolute right to relief of their cancer pain. With the appropriate use of available therapies, patients’ quality of life throughout all stages of the disease can be significantly improved.  In Malaysia, less than 20% of cancer patients receive opioid analgesia as part of their pain management. The first step towards well –managed pain is achieved by understanding the facts about cancer pain, and becoming aware that there is indeed help available for pain relief. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 25% of all cancer patients die with unrelieved pain as many patients do not report their pain and therefore delayed the possibility of early pain treatment. Furthermore, since pain is subjective, only the person suffering from it would truly know what it is like. Since different individuals have different threshold for pain, the pain care is individualized. Good communication with the pain control team is essential for an optimal development of a treatment plan. Furthermore, the goals of pain management must be frequently reviewed and integrated into a patient’s overall management plan, whilst not forgetting the patient’s own wishes in guiding medical decision-making along the way. The key message is that controlling pain is part of the cancer treatment and the best way is to control the pain from the start before it worsens. Do remember, that with the current vast knowledge of cancer pain and the availability of modernized pain-relieving therapies, no one should have to suffer from unrelieved pain!   Prepared by: Dr Thiruselvi Subramaniam Helped by IMU students: LEE RUEY-YI, CHONG SHWEN NEE, SIVASANGGARI A/P SELVANATHAN, VIDHYA A/P VIJAYAN

What is Cancer Pain? Why suffer from it? – Part 2  

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