Cancer Pain us unique and is devastating. There are many questions we need to know the answers for since every cancer is different, so please bring your imaging studies (MRI, CT scans, X-rays, etc) on a CD when you come. This is very important since the paper reports are not good enough. Also bring any reports and consultations with you. Bring a written list of your medications, and pay particular attention to blood thinners. The more information you bring, the better!
The work will start with a History and Physical, review records, review imaging to locate tumors and identify the best was to procedurally block the pain from being felt. There are 3 major treatments for cancer pain that you can learn about in preparation for your appointment.
1. Cancer Pain Pumps (also called Intrathecal Infusion Pumps)
This treatment is an implant has 2 parts together. It has the pump itself that is about the size of a hockey puck, and also the catheter that connects the pump to the spinal fluid that bathes the spinal nerves and spinal cord. It floats in the spinal canal and delivers medication to your spine to block pain. Many medications can be used in this pump, such as morphine and dialudid (very potent opioids), clonidine, baclofen, and bupivicaine (a local anesthetic). All of these medications are used for different purposes to give different types of pain relief. For cancer pain, it is common to use a combination of these medications in a mix that is better than just one alone. This gets very complex, and that is why you need a specially trained physician to both implant these pumps and also to manage these medications an adjust the complex levels.
2. Neurolytic Procedures
These procedures are to damage nerves to conduct pain. This makes the pain much improved since if the nerve can no longer conduct pain, the relief is drastically improved. This is not possible for all cancers, but is an excellent option. One example is celiac plexus blockade and neurolysis, which stops pain from cancer of the pancreas and adrenal glands. There are many other examples of this, and again the relief is very impressive, so when this is possible it is preferred. Damaging nerves can have a risk, so again, Michigan Pain Specialists are trained and ready for this type of treatment. It is rare to find pain specialists that are trained for this, and all our doctors have this training. Also, many websites contain faulty information on neurolytic procedures, so it is best to talk to our doctors before researching this topic.
Just like non-malignant pain, we are able to tune down your nervous system with spinal cord stimulators and give improvement of cancer pain. See the treatment section called spinal cord Stimulation for more information.
One last note, or doctors are unique. We are not the usual pain clinic. We see the patients who could not get help at other pain clinics and hospitals. Our niche is to help those patients that are told they cannot be helped. Especially with cancer, we can help you when no one else can. Come in a learn all that is possible.
Michigan Pain Specialists