New Approaches to Managing Cancer Pain

Pain management for cancer patients is one of the many unfortunate necessities of the disease. Whether it’s from the tumor itself, the treatment or a combination of both, pain is a severe reality for many cancer patients. While there have long been a number of drugs on the market that relieve pain, with the surge in the opioid epidemic, many people are looking for pain-management strategies that don’t involve an addictive medication or even any medication at all. Adding to the issue is the fact that many more people are surviving cancer, and living longer after a diagnosis, which has generated a new demand for pain relief. Fueled by continued research in the area, cancer pain management is a rapidly changing issue, with a number of promising new approaches in development.

New Antibody to Reduce Bone Pain

Bone pain is a common complaint from those whose cancer has metastasized into the bones, or who had a tumor in the bone to begin with. Prolia was the first drug approved for cancer-related bone pain, and was followed by Fosamax. Now, they may be joined by a new antibody that seeks to block a molecule called nerve growth factor, which signals to the brain that the body is pain. The antibody proved successful in a series of testing with mice and is now in clinical trials with humans.

Cannabinoid for Cancer Pain

Cannabinoid, a chemical used in marijuana, has also proven promising for its ability to suppress pain. For instance, a study out of the UCLA School of Dentistry found that cannabinoid reduced pain in rats; and because the researchers used a synthetic form of the chemical, it didn’t leave the animals with any typical symptoms of cannabinoid use, such as disorientation.

Natural Remedies to Manage Pain

There are also a number of approaches to pain management for cancer patients that involve natural remedies. Acupuncture and yoga, for instance, have been recognized for their ability to help cancer patients manage pain from cancer or its treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy is another strategy that is on the rise, as it is a drug-free method of arming patients with the psychological tools to cope with the pain.

Research into cancer pain management is quickly evolving, though one of the challenges is testing the methods on human trial participants who are actively in pain. Especially with cancer patients, researchers are limited by the person’s prognosis and any potential interaction among medications he or she is already taking. However, as the need for pain management for cancer patients continues to increase, so too does the need for well-funded research methods. Ultimately, if patients are in less pain, they can concentrate on their diagnosis and ideally get back on the path to health.

Financial Help for Cancer

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