Pain is an unpleasant sensation that only you can feel. It is what you say it is. A
change or increase in pain does not necessarily mean your cancer has returned or is
progressing. Pain may be caused by a number of things, including cancer, treatment of
the cancer, or a medical problem not related to the cancer diagnosis. Most pain can be
treated with medication and/ or treatments such as physical therapy. Your doctor and nurse will assist you to find the best possible way to control your pain. On occasion your doctor may ask a doctor who specializes in cancer pain management to manage your pain.
- Report your pain
- Rate your pain. Keep track of what triggers it and what makes it better.
- Have pain treated promptly.
- Maintain optimal level of physical activity.
Emergency Signs and Symptoms
Call 911 IMMEDIATELY.
- Severe chest/arm pain
- Severe squeezing or pressure in chest
- Severe sudden headache
Urgent Signs and Symptoms
Call the clinic or the after-hours clinic NOW.
- New or uncontrolled pain
- New headache
- Chest discomfort or heart “flip-flop” feeling
- Pounding heart
- Painful central line site or area of “tunnel”
- Burning in chest or stomach
- Strong stomach pain
- Pain with infusion of medications or fluids into central line
What You Can Do at Home
- Maintain your treatment plan. Take medications as ordered. Do not increase your dose of medication without talking to your nurse or doctor.
- Keep a pain journal.
- Use hot or cold packs.
- Find a relaxation technique that works for you, such as guided imagery, hypnosis, massage or therapeutic touch.
- Listen to relaxing music.
- Continue activities that are meaningful to you. Such activities may help you notice less pain or discomfort.
- Before taking pain medication/opioids, ask your nurse or doctor about ways to prevent constipation.
Taking care of your pain will help you sleep better, feel stronger and be better able to cope with your illness.
© 2009 Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Revised 2010.
The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Pain Clinic staff is dedicated to managing your pain as best as possible.
Pain Symptom Information Sheet
Facts and helpful information regarding pain symptoms as a side effect of treatment.