[MOL] Getting Pain Relief! [00122] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Getting Pain Relief!


National Institutes of Health

National Cancer Institute 

Medicine and other treatments can almost always relieve cancer pain.
Treating pain is an important part of good cancer care. Pain relief can
also help you enjoy life more. 

To get relief, talk to your doctor or nurse as soon as pain begins. 


•All the places it hurts 

•How strong the pain feels 

•What makes the pain worse 

•What eases the pain 

•How much relief you get from medicines you now take 


•What medicine(s) can you give me to relieve my pain? 

•How and when should I take the medicine(s), and for how 


•What side effects are common? What should be done if they 


•Should I try non-drug methods to relieve my pain, too, like 

relaxation or massage? 


•I'm afraid of becoming addicted. 

FACT: When cancer pain medicines are given and taken in the 

right way, patients rarely become addicted to them. To be sure, talk to the
doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to use pain medicines safely. 

Many patients only need pain medicines for a time, until the cause of their
pain goes away. When they are ready to stop taking the medicine, the doctor
gradually lowers the amount of medicine they take. By the time they stop
using it completely, the body has had time to adjust. 

Some patients will need to take pain medicines for the long-term. Taking
medicines regularly should not make you feel like an "addict." You are
following your doctor's advice and getting a treatment you need. 

•I don't want to seem like a "complainer." 

FACT: You have a right to ask for pain relief. In fact, 

telling the doctor or nurse about pain is what all patients SHOULD do. The
sooner you speak up, the better. It's often easier to control pain in its
early stages, before it becomes severe. 

•I don't want to lose control. 

FACT: Most people do not get "high" or lose control when 

they take cancer pain medicines in the right way. You may feel sleepy when
you first take some pain medicines, but this feeling often goes away after
a few days. 

A few people get dizzy or feel confused when they take cancer pain
medicines. Tell the doctor or nurse if this happens to you. Changing your
dose or type of medicine usually can solve the problem. 

Taking Care of Pain Is Important. It Helps You Feel Stronger And Cope
Better With Your Cancer. 

Pain can cause: 







Pain can interfere with: 

•Daily activities 

•Interest in work and hobbies 



•Enjoying friends and family 

•Enjoying life 

Help yourself by asking your doctor or nurse for pain relief when you need
it. It's your right. Then find out how to take your medicines safely, and
follow your doctor's advice. It's your role in getting the best cancer

For more details on cancer pain relief or other cancer-related information,
call the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service at
1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) or the American Cancer Society at
1-800-ACS-2345 (1-800-227-2345).## 

Get Relief From Cancer Pain was adapted from Cancer Pain Relief, developed
by Pamela Kedziera, RN, MSN, OCN, and Michael H. Levy, MD, PhD, at the Fox
Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA. 

NIH Publication No. 94-3735

May 1994 (RL-5) 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Public Health Service National Institutes of Health 

Date Last Modified: 09/94
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