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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Lung Cancer
Answer: Not a common problem, but sputum examination is still the best examination.
Answer: I suspect she really has colon cancer which spread to the lung. Chemotherapy is available; however, once it spreads like this, it isn't very effective.
Answer: There are many possibilities as to why your father is still experiencing pain after his surgery. Unfortunately, I do not know the specifics of his symptoms. For example, where exactly is the pain? - is it around the incision, or is it the incision itself that hurts? Does the pain travel anywhere, or is it related to activity or breathing? Has he been experiencing other symptoms, such as cough, fever, rash, back pain, chest pain, or "pins and needles" in the area?
On occasion there are some unfortunate patients who suffer from "neuropathic pain" What this means is that long after the injury or (that was a cause for pain in the area) has been completed, there is still pain despite no evidence for on-going injury, inflammation, or abnormality of any kind. This is similar to the commonly experienced pain suffered by individuals who get "shingles" "flare-ups". Scarring, as well as expected tissue changes in the area of the surgery, may all cause pain that can take some time to resolve.
Chronic pain is an extremely frustrating symptom. With continued effort, hopefully the symptoms may come under control. It sounds like both locally applied cream , as well as oral pain medications have not worked. Without a full understanding of your father's symptoms and the exact nature of his surgery, it is difficult to determine your next best course of action. Perhaps a discussion with your primary physician regarding seeing a pain specialist may be in order. This may prove beneficial for your father, and provide you both with a sound source of information and advice.
Answer:There are about 50 different types of lung cancer. Most fall into a class of cells called squamous cell cancers. However, in order to determine if there is any effective treatment, you must know the type of cell. In general, squamous and adeno cancers of the lung do not respond to any "easy" chemotherapies. Once the tumor has spread, effective treatment centers on pain control. Other sub-groups of lung cancers can be treated with different chemotherpies. However, to use these medicines one should be familiar with side effects and toxicities since treatment is a fine line between too much and too little of the drug.
Answer:Morphine sulfate is still the mainstay of pain relief. There are other drugs which potentiate morphine, but, it is still the major drug available. For most patients, pain relief without sedation is possible;but, it requires careful titration ot the drug and avoiding other drugs which cause sedation. Constipation is usually one of the limiting factors and a aggressive regimen of bowel care is necessary with morphine or any of its cousins. Most cities and hospitals have pain specialists available and injections in different areas can often be very helpful. Time release morphine is extremely helpful as a baseline to add other analgesia to.