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Pain Management


Young women diagnosed with breast cancer often face the extra challenge of pain. Remember: not every persistent pain means a cancer recurrence.

Causes of Breast Cancer Pain

Pain can result from a number of causes including:

  • Scarring and the overall healing process
  • Treatment side effects, like neuropathy
  • Fatigue

If you’re facing pain, you don’t have to “tough it out.” Talk to your healthcare team, and work with them to find a cause and a solution.

Coping with Pain

These tips can help you cope with any pain you may be experiencing:

  • Talk with your doctor, and make sure they know how much it hurts. Use the 0 to 10 pain scale, where zero means no pain and 10 means the worst pain. Tell your doctor exactly where it hurts, when it hurts and what the pain feels like. Also, share any medications you’ve taken or other remedies you’ve tried.
  • Use a pain diary (a log of your pain occurrences) to keep track of your pain. Our Health and Side Effect Diary can help you get started.
  • Ask to meet with a pain or palliative care specialist. They can include oncologists, anesthesiologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, nurses or pharmacists and can offer you expert advice on controlling your pain.
  • Take advantage of all your options and explore various approaches—prescription medication, acupuncture, meditation, relaxation techniques and physical therapy, to name a few.
  • If you have insurance, make sure you know what your insurance company will cover.

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