- Question from Mary: Can Taxol cause continuing pain after treatment? It's been almost three years, but I had some problems before diagnosis of breast cancer, and I wonder if I had the fibro all along. The Taxol just seemed to send it into overdrive. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after treatment.
- Answers - Ann Berger Yes, it's not uncommon to have pain after Taxol for long periods. What you're probably experiencing is widespread muscle, or myofascial-type, pain. Whether it's fibromyalgia or not, it's muscle-type pain. Fibromyalgia is a very difficult diagnosis. It's widespread muscle pain, and it is not uncommon for women, after Taxol, to have it, and not uncommon for women without breast cancer. Fibromyalgia-type pains are common. The treatments would be tricyclic antidepressants. Sometimes muscle relaxant-type medications like Baclofen, and definitely massage and acupuncture play a role here. Acupuncture is widely accepted in fibromyalgia.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. What role do visualization, meditation, and biofeedback play?
- Ann Berger All of those things help pain tremendously. We use probably 50-80 percent of nonpharmacologic methods in our NIH pain clinic, meaning non-medication. The things we use include massage, relaxation, hypnosis, and Reiki therapy, which is also very helpful in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndromes. We have an acupuncture therapist, a music therapist, pet therapy, and art therapy. All of these things are very helpful in all of pain management in whatever pain people are experiencing, whether Taxol or fibromyalgia. It doesn't have to be cancer-related pain.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. How about chocolate?
- Ann Berger That helps me! It increases your endorphins.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Breast Cancer Pain featured Ann Berger, R.N., M.S.N., M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about managing pain caused by breast cancer and breast cancer treatments.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2002.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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