Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Some types of chemotherapy cause painful side effects. These include burning, numbness, tingling or shooting pains in your hands and feet, mouth sores, headaches, muscle pains, and stomach pains. Pain can be caused by your cancer or by chemotherapy. Doctors and nurses have ways to decrease or relieve the pain.
Ways to Manage Pain:
Talk about your pain with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. Be specific and describe:
- Where you feel pain. Is it one part of your body or all over?
- Is it sharp, dull, or throbbing pain? Does it come and go, or is it steady?
- How strong is the pain? Describe it on a scale of 0 to 10.
- How long does the pain last? Does it last for a few minutes, an hour, or longer?
- What makes the pain better or worse? For instance, does an ice pack help? Or does the pain get worse if you move in a certain way?
- What medication have you taken for pain? Does it help? How long does it last? What dose do you take, and how often?
Let your family and friends know about your pain. They need to know so they can help you. If you are very tired or in a lot of pain, they can call your doctor or nurse for you. Knowing about your pain can also help them understand why you may be acting differently.
Practise Pain Control
- Take your pain medicine on a regular schedule (by the clock) even when you are not in pain. Consistently taking your medication is important to manage your pain.
- Do not skip doses. Pain is harder to control and manage if you wait until you are in a lot of pain before taking medication.
- Try deep breathing, yoga or other ways to relax. This can help reduce muscle tension, anxiety and pain.
- Ask to meet with a pain or palliative care specialist. An oncologist, anesthesiologist, neurologist, neurosurgeon, nurse, or pharmacist can talk to you about ways to control your pain.
- Let your doctor, nurse or pain specialist know if your pain changes. Your pain can change over the course of your treatment. When this happens, your pain medications may need to be modified.