According to a survey, 9 out of 10 patients have asked Doctors whether Chemotherapy would cause any physical pain or not. The answers given often varied from one doctor to another, however a common aspect is all of the answers is that the process of chemo is not painful. However, It can cause discomfort and sometimes but rarely even pain. However, doctors have also mentioned that anxiety and stress have increased pain in patients while getting Chemotherapy done.
Under an effort to pave out a proper way for anticipation, here is the procedure followed in Chemotherapy.
1. Insertion of the Intravenous Catheter is an Initial Intravenous(IV) inserted into the veins. A little pain is reported.
If chemo is being administered through IV, there can be a minor sting, and some discomfort as a needle is being inserted into your skin. In some cases, a needle will have to be inserted for a longer-term through port-a-cath or PICC options. In such cases, a needle not be changed frequently, only once a few weeks or months.
However, nervousness can only amp up the pain and cause even more discomfort. Hence, staying calm and patient is the key to getting through this.
2. Discomfort During an Infusion. Some chemo drugs cause a slight burn when they enter your veins. IV can cause a burning sensation. However, this is entirely normal. If severe and genuine pain is felt during a session, you must immediately let the nurse/doctor know about your condition.
3. After Effects of Chemotherapy. After your Chemotherapy, you may notice some side-effects of the treatments during the first few days or weeks. Nothing major, but these unpleasant little visits of the ‘side-effects’ can be hectic.
· Peripheral neuropathy (numbness and pain caused by damage to nerve cells)
· Deep aching in your legs and arms (often experienced with drugs like Taxol)
· Mouth sores.
All these symptoms can be cured and relieved with medication and will subside as your treatment progresses.
Overall, the treatment is not painful; the pointers stated above have known to cause discomfort and pain in patients. Although the term ‘pain-tolerance’ is not used to describe a person’s experience during Chemotherapy, as pain is not something you “tolerate” but rather an authentic experience that deserves full attention. In case you feel you are overwhelmed or are unable to cope with the treatment, speak to someone about it and let them know how you think.
Don’t tolerate in silence.