Discusses the frequent undermedication of cancer patients, the legal ramifications of medications, and the need to properly medicate patients who otherwise might jeopardize their chance for recovery
Every day a tragedy is played out in hospitals and homes across America - the tragedy of needless cancer pain. Too often, cancer patients are caught in the middle between society's strong anti-drug message and modern medical techniques that can bring relief from pain to an extraordinary ninety to ninety-nine percent of cancer patients. Although cancer pain experts assert that pain relief is important, not only because it is humane but also because it is beneficial for physical and psychological health, millions still endure unnecessary, and sometimes agonizing, pain.Written by Richard B. Patt, M.D., one of the country's leading cancer pain experts, and science writer Susan S. Lang, You Don't Have to Suffer is an invaluable, no-nonsense handbook for anyone with cancer, for anyone caring for a loved one with cancer, and for the doctors and nurses who treat these patients. The authors first enumerate the reasons patients are so often undermedicated - unfounded fears of addiction, the desire to "tough it out," time-consuming paperwork for doctors who prescribe narcotics, and laws that fail to distinguish between drug abuse and the legitimate use of narcotics. Carefully weighing the evidence, Lang and Patt construct a powerful argument that properly medicated patients are more able to resume active lives and marshall strength to fight their disease, while those in chronic pain not only suffer, but also may well jeopardize their potential for recovery.You Don't Have to Suffer explores all the pain-relieving options available in the modern medical arsenal - from drugs and high-tech medical procedures to psychological and cognitive techniques and home nursing tips to make a patient more comfortable. Detailed chapters discuss the medications that can fight cancer pain or relieve the undesirable side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and other cancer treatments; anesthetic and neurosurgical options for pain that has not responded well to simpler techniques; and ways to prevent or relieve constipation, nausea, drowsiness, and other complaints of cancer patients. Other chapters explore mind/body techniques - including relaxation training, biofeedback, hypnosis, acupuncture, and massage - as well as psychological, cognitive, and home nursing techniques that patients and their families can adapt to help break the vicious circle of anxiety, depression, and cancer pain.Pulling together a wealth of long-needed information on the latest medical advances, You Don't Have to Suffer is a volume for the growing numbers of patients, family members, and health-care professionals who are determined to relieve needless cancer pain.