Pain Management and Side Effects
Pain Management and Side Effect
With innovations in treatment, cancer patients are surviving longer but are often faced with excruciating pain and rapid weight loss that severely reduces quality of life. Pain may appear as a side effect of a cancer treatment, such as surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Patients may also battle chronic issues, such as headaches or stomach aches.
Because pain is subjective and patient-specific, each pain management plan is tailored to the individual. The NYU approach is to proactively study pain mechanisms – from pain predictors to secreted mediators that sensitize cells to pain – then aggressively move new research findings to clinical implementation.
At the NYU Oral Cancer Center, we focus on addressing the pain often associated with oral cancer. Pain is not only a physical experience: Psychological stressors and emotional triggers can profoundly effect pain perception. If needed, our team offers psychotherapy with many different behavioral approaches such as meditation or stress reduction techniques improving our patients’ quality of life.
Management of Treatment Side Effects
The severity of side effects depends on the scope and duration of treatment. Typical problems include sore throat or mouth due to ulcers and inflammation, dry mouth, tooth decay, and bleeding gum or infection. Advanced oral cancer is unique in that it not only causes intense pain at the primary site but also significantly impairs speech, swallowing, and chewing functions as well as general oral health. Management of such a diverse array of side effects can only be dealt with effectively with a team of oral health specialists, therapists and pain counselors.
At NYU Oral Cancer Center, our experts work closely with each other in order to minimize side effects and maximize general oral health for patients throughout treatment.
We understand that a patient with oral cancer is not only struggling with the side effects of their treatment but also suffering from emotional and physical factors such as anxiety, depression, fatigue and sleep deprivation. At the NYU Oral Cancer Center, we have a psychologist on staff and other counselors ready to assist patients through the rocky territory that can be cancer healing.