Pain

Pain

Pain can be caused by cancer, cancer treatment, or other health problems. It affects how you feel physically and emotionally.

It is important to get relief from pain and to take any pain medication as prescribed.

If you have a new pain, a sudden increase in pain or pain that doesn’t improve after taking your medication, you need to contact your doctor or nurse.

Use the contact numbers you have been given. If you can’t get hold of anyone, go to your nearest hospital emergency department to for assessment.

Be prepared

Know what to expect

Pain affects different people in different ways. Only you know how much pain you have and how it is affecting you. Ask your doctor what can be done to ease any pain you have.   

Understand your pain medications

Make sure you know what pain medications you have been prescribed and how to take them. Also ask about possible side effects of these medications.

If you have questions about your pain medications, you can speak to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Start a symptom diary

Keeping track of your symptoms can help you and your cancer care team to manage them better.

Talk to your doctor or nurse to see if there is a diary they recommend, or use the example provided on this page.

Know who to contact if you have a problem

Ask your doctor or nurse:

  • when you should call for help or advice
  • who you should contact
  • how to contact them (including at night or weekends).

Keep this information where you can easily find it.

Checklists

Use our checklists to find helpful tips or questions to ask.

Managing symptoms

Managing pain

Your doctor may order tests to find out more about the cause of your pain.

The best way to control pain is to manage it early. Take you medication as your doctor prescribed. If you continue to have pain after taking your medication, contact your doctor or nurse.

Consider other things you can do that may ease your pain e.g. gentle exercise, yoga, tai chi. 

If you have continuing problems with pain, you may be referred to a palliative care physician. This is a  doctor who specialises in managing pain and other symptoms. 

Severe pain

Severe pain includes pain that:

  • isn’t relieved by your regular pain medication
  • is constant and makes you to agitated
  • is distressing and affects your daily life
  • any sudden or severe new pain.

If you have a new pain, a sudden increase in pain or pain that doesn't improve after taking your medication, you need to contact your doctor or nurse.

Use the contact numbers you have been given. If you can’t get hold of anyone, go to your nearest hospital emergency department to for assessment.

Checklists

Use our checklists to find helpful tips or questions to ask.

Where to get help

There are people you can talk to for more information or support.

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