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Pain Management
Keeping Track
Many parents find it helpful to keep a journal of their child's progress with cancer treatment. A three-ring binder with sections for observations, procedures, medications, instructions from medical professionals, and pockets for receipts and pamphlets, helps not only the parents but the caregivers keep up to date with the child's condition. You might also want to download the "Cancer Survivor's Treatment Record" at patientcenters.com. This provides a concise template for organizing the various aspects of your child's care.
Not all cancer patients feel pain, but in some patients it can be significant. Most hospitals and treatment centers have staff whose job it is to help ease children's pain and discomfort. These people are usually called child life specialists. Ask your child's doctor or nurse if they are available to assist for more difficult procedures. It also helps to be ready with a variety of distractions and stress relief tools. The Cancer Pain Management in Children web site of the Texas Children's Cancer Center offers a variety of tools, including a pain management handbook.

While the treatment center's medical staff is in charge of pharmaceutical pain relief, you can also come prepared with non-medical tools to assist your child in coping with pain. Deep breathing has long been known to aid relaxation. The National Children's Cancer Society recommends blowing bubbles or pinwheels to help children get the benefits of deep breathing. Distractions in the form of pop-up books, magic wands, or view masters, are also helpful, as are stress balls, "Koosh" balls, Silly Putty, Play Doh or modeling clay. For some children, relaxing music can also lower stress levels.


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For more information about cancer and its treatment, call the Cancer
Therapy & Research Center Information line at 1-800-340-2872.
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