Why managing cancer pain is important

Posted at 04/09/14 2:05 AM

MANILA -- Only five to ten percent of cancers do not cause pain, a pain specialist said on Tuesday.

This is why it is advisable for cancer patients not only to treat their illness, but to manage pain as well.

In an interview on radio dzMM's "Magandang Gabi Dok," Dr. Luzviminda Kwong, president of the Pain Society of the Philippines, explained the importance of pain management in dealing with cancer.

"Karamihan ng cancer, may kaakibat na sakit. Minsan, yung ibang may cancer, gusto nang magpakamatay dahil sa sakit."

She said that pain specialists, or algologists, can help a cancer patient get over the pain, and live normally.

She added that pain is subjective, and that there is no single way to manage pain.

"Ang binibigay namin, depende sa sakit, at depende sa pasyente."

Pain management is not just about physical pain, but about emotional and spiritual pain as well. As pain specialists, Kwong explained that they help patients ease the pain and help them accept the situation.

"May mga pasyente na hindi makakain dahil sa sakit, hindi makatulog. Kapag na-manage yung pain, makakakain ulit sila, makakatulog sila."

She also said that unlike other doctors and specialists, algologists and pain specialists do not hesitate in prescribing higher doses of painkillers.

"Bihasa kami sa pagpe-prescribe ng mataas na dosage ng gamot, kasi yun talaga ang ginagawa namin."

Kwong said most cancer patients refuse to complain against pain, making them feel more hopeless about their condition.

Contrary to common belief, even the worst kind of cancer pain can be managed.

"Bawal magtiis. Maraming mga pasyente ang natatakot magreklamo na may sakit silang nararamdaman kasi natatakot silang sabihan na nagrereklamo sila."

Kwong said cancer patients can also choose alternative medicine for pain management.

She explained, however, that the effects of alternative medicinal techniques like acupuncture and others differs from patient to patient.

If the pain becomes intolerable, Kwong said patients can get medication.

She added that those constantly in pain, whether due to cancer or other causes, should go to a doctor to have themselves checked.

Self-medication can help, but higher levels of pain need higher doses of medicine, Kwong said.