People with advanced cancer may experience pain. It can impact you both physically and emotionally, affecting healing and contributing to fatigue, loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping. Depending on your cancer and the type of treatments you receive, you may experience pain that is acute (short‑term), chronic (long‑term), or breakthrough (pain that occurs despite a regular dose of pain medicine).
Tips for managing it
The most important thing to know about cancer pain is that you don’t have to just live with it. You healthcare team has many ways to help you manage pain, and there are a few things you can do to help them:
Nobody is expecting you to “just deal with it” and nobody will think you’re weak for admitting you’re in pain. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to treat your pain. The more your healthcare team knows, the better equipped they are to help you get your pain under control.
Track your pain
Keep track of when pain happens, what triggered it, where it is, how strong it is (try a simple scale from 1 to 10), and what you did to get your pain under control. This type of information can be very helpful to your healthcare team as they try to get your pain under control.
Stick with it
It may take hours or days to get your pain under control. In the meantime, many strong pain medications can have side effects like confusion, lethargy, and sleepiness. Do not let these side effects stop you from sticking to your pain medication regimen! By talking with your treatment team, they will be able to modify your medication plan.
Working with your healthcare team
You and your healthcare team can put together a pain management plan. This plan may include:
- Over the counter medication
- Prescription medication
- Treatments that remove the source of the pain e.g. radiation therapy
About 50–80% of men on hormonal therapies for prostate cancer experience some sort of hot flashes. They usually start as a sudden feeling of warmth in the face and chest that then spreads to the rest of the body in waves and can last anywhere from 2 to 30 minutes. You may also experience sweating, reddening of the skin, a racing heart, or feelings of anxiousness. The exact cause of hot flashes is unknown, but may be related to how hormones interact with a part of your brain called the hypothalamus, which control body temperature.
Tips for managing them
Hot flashes usually get better as your body gets used to treatment or if medication is stopped, but there are a number of things you can do on a daily basis to help manage them:
- Dress in layers so that you can remove them when you get hot, and wear looser clothing in lighter fabrics (e.g. clothes made with cotton).
- Stay in air-conditioned or cool areas with lots of air circulation (e.g. next to a fan or open window).
- Avoid hot drinks, caffeine, spicy food, tobacco, and alcohol. Do not take any medicinal plants without first consulting your doctor.
- Practice taking slow, deep breaths when you feel a hot flash coming on, or try relaxing activities like yoga or meditation.
If your hot flashes become unbearable, your doctor may suggest medicine to try to reduce them.
Taking care of your mental, emotional, and physical health will help you better face the changes that will come from advanced cancer and its treatment. The role you play in taking care of yourself is just as important as any medication or treatment.
We are here for you
You have questions or concerns? Don’t hesitate. Contact us at 1 855 899-2873 to discuss with one of our nurses specialized in uro-oncology. They are there to listen, support and answer your questions, those of your family or your loved ones. It’s simple and free, like all of our other services.
Also take the time to visit each of our pages on this website, as well as our YouTube channel, in order to get familiar with the disease, our expert lectures and webinars, our section on available resources, the support that is offered to you, our events and ways to get involve to advance the cause.
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Our team is composed of urologists, nurses certified in uro-oncology with a deep knowledge of prostate cancer and other diseases related to the genitourinary system. Meet our staff by clicking here.
Sources and references
- Prostate Cancer – Understand the disease and its treatments; Fred Saad, MD, FRCSC and Michael McCormack, MD, FRCSC, 4th et 5th editions
- Canadian Cancer Society
- Prostate Cancer Foundation-PCF.org
- National Cancer Institute-USA
- American Cancer Society
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
- Prostate Cancer UK
Last medical and editorial review: July 2019
Written by PROCURE. © All rights reserved – 2019