Symptom Management

There are many important questions to consider: 

  • How can we ensure that my loved one is free of pain? 
  • How can we maximize the quality of his or her life? 
  • What are his or her preferences? 
  • How can I best help the person I care about? and, 
  • Are there special things that my loved one wants to experience? 

The person you love has advanced cancer and may have no symptoms or may be tired, nauseous, in pain, and possibly breathless at times. Encourage your loved one to report all of these symptoms to the doctor, so he or she can help find relief. Your loved one should have access to a palliative care team for pain and symptom management. As mentioned earlier, it may be helpful for you or a friend to join him or her at doctor’s appointments (assuming your partner agrees) so that you can also hear what is said and help follow through with recommendations. 

It is not uncommon for people with cancer to under-report and under-treat pain for any number of reasons. In order to help the doctor understand the pain your loved one is experiencing, ask him or her to describe it as precisely as possible including where it is, how it feels, when it began, and how much it hurts on a scale from 1 (not very painful) to 10 (excruciating pain). It is important for him or her to take pain medication as prescribed to manage long-lasting pain before it becomes unbearable. There are many types of pain medicines available to relieve symptoms.

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