Northwood Plaza Medical Building
3001 Eastland Boulevard Suite 7
Clearwater, Florida 33761

Office Hours 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Phone: (727) 789-0891
Fax: (727) 789-1570
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Gulf Coast Pain Management
Cancer Pain Can Be Managed
by Lynne Carr Columbus, D.O.

Cancer pain can manifest itself in many ways due to many different reasons, such as pain from the compression of tumors, surgical pain, nerve pain related to chemotherapeutic medications and radiation procedures utilized to treat the ongoing cancer. Just as the sensation of pain from cancer can manifest itself in a variety of ways, there is a broad range of options for managing pain. the basic approach for pain treatment is with analgesic agents. However, every patient is unique and responds to medication differently, so a variety of doses and drug combinations may be tested to determine the most effective pain relief methods. Patient education and knowledge about cancer pain treatment options also can make a significant difference in helping them navigate the pain management continuum.

The World Health Organization summarizes the basic pharmacologic principles of cancer pain management in the form of an "analgesic ladder," whereby increasingly severe pain is treated with increasingly potent analgesics. The Three rungs of this ladder include nonopioids (including acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for mild pain; weak opioids (such as codeine and propoxyphene) for moderate pain and potent opioids (including morphine and methadone) for treating severe pain. As treatment progresses, adjuvant drugs and interventional therapies may also be added as needed to alleviate pain.

In general, however, the key steps to ensure adequate pain control are: an accurate pain diagnosis; appropriate use of surgical, medical and radiation interventions; proper application of noninvasive and invasive pain relief techniques; and adequate and ongoing follow-up to adjust the treatment approach to the patient's changing clinical condition.

Most cancer-related pain can be managed by taking oral analgesics, or with transdermal skin patches or rectal suppositories. However, some patients have little pain relief or experience intolerable side effects with traditional systemic therapy. Common drug-related side effects such as constipation, nausea and vomiting. drowsiness and slowed breathing -- even if they are transitory or episodic -- can often discourage use of what is otherwise a viable pain management option. This is when interventional techniques are necessary for providing adequate pain control.

In cases of cancer pain, the focus is not on curing pain or cancer, but managing it. Some pain management techniques can be dramatic. The existence of such effective pain management options make it difficult to understand why the majority of pain suffers go without adequate -- or any -- treatment.

Lynne Carr Columbus is currently the President of Gulf Coast Pain Management, a multidisciplinary pain center located at 3890 Tampa Rd. Ste. 308, Palm Harbor, FL 34684. She is a board-certified anesthesiologist and pain management specialist. To contact her office, call (727) 789-0891 or e-mail

Tampa Bay M.D. News September 2008


Setting the standards in quality pain management!
at Gulf Coast Pain Management

2000 - 2014 Gulf Coast Pain Management
Lynne Carr Columbus, D.O.

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3001 Eastland Blvd. Suite 7 Clearwater, FL 33761



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