Talk to your doctor about the possibility of pain and available medicines and complementary therapies so you can plan ahead. It’s easier to control pain when it starts rather than waiting until it becomes severe. Palliative care may be a good option for you. See page 50 for more information about how palliative care can help relieve pain.

The American Cancer Society has a lot of information about the kinds of pain you can feel due to cancer and treatment as well as questions you should ask about pain medication. You can download a pain diary and learn how to develop a pain management plan with your care team. Visit cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345.

Here’s what the American Cancer Society says you should expect your cancer care team to do:

• Believe your descriptions of pain.

• Take a careful history of your pain (a pain assessment) after you report it

and at every appointment.

• Do a physical exam or other tests to understand the location and possible

cause of your pain.

• Set goals about your pain and medicines you are willing to try.

• Treat your pain based on the most recent research.

• Talk to you about how the pain control plan is working and make changes

as needed.

Pain-management tips from the International Pain Foundation


• Keep track of your pain according to a scale of 1 to 10.

• Be specific about where it hurts and what it feels like.

• Incorporate a mindfulness or meditation practice to help breathe through

pain flares.

• Increase your water intake (can ease headaches).

• Prioritize your time so you have energy for what you want to do.

• Talk to a therapist or spiritual leader about the emotional effects of pain.

The Journey





Santa Fe New Mexican