Pain relief

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My husband has stage 4 bowel cancer that has spread into his stomach and liver. This was diagnosed 14 months ago, he has been on 2 different chemotherapy drugs, both have now stopped working. His Oncologist has said he could try Avastin targetted drug which he would have to self fund. This is a battle in itself finding someone who will administer it. I have contacted Lloyds Pharmacy Homecare who could do it but need the referral from the Oncologist and there I am in the middle trying to get all parties to communicate. In the meantime my husband, Ian does not seem to have been advised on pain relief, he is in a lot of pain. At the moment he is taking Co- coda mol which doesn’t touch the surface. I’m trying to get to speak to his key worker for advice also. 
He is struggling to eat and therefore losing weight. To say I’m at my wits end is an understatement. 
Any advice would be very welcome 

Kindest regards 


  • Hi Lorraine,

    Thank you for contacting Macmillan Cancer Support. My name is David, one of the Cancer Information Nurse Specialists on the Macmillan Support Line.

    I am sorry to hear of your husband’s stage 4 cancer which has now metastasised to the stomach and liver. This is sometimes referred to as advanced cancer.

    Poor pain management, poor dietary intake and weight loss on top of the diagnosis and everything else you are dealing with sounds really tough at the moment.

    We are not able to diagnose on this platform Lorraine as we don’t have access to your husband’s hospital records or test results. We therefore tend to err on the side of caution.

    We normally strongly advise people that if they have a new symptom, a symptom that persists, gets worse or, is changing then they must contact their hospital team in the first instance so they can physically assess and manage from there.

    If Ian has a Colorectal Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) then it may be an idea to ask them for a review of Ian’s pain management. You could further ask for a referral to a dietician.

    Coping with cancer pain can be difficult. We have further information on Pain which may be useful going forward. You could also ask if a syringe driver pump may be appropriate.

    If the Palliative Care Team are involved, then they are normally good at helping with symptom control.

    Eating problems and cancer can also be hard to address. We have information on this and the building up diet which may be useful.

    Coping with advanced bowel cancer can be difficult to deal with. Sometimes people find strength in talking to others who may be in a similar situation to themselves. Our Bowel Cancer forum may be a good place to start.

    Alternatively, Bowel cancer UK and CRUK are also good sources of information and support.

    If there is anything else we can help you with please feel free to get back in touch.


    Best wishes


    Cancer Information Nurse Specialist


    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email.



    DT/ LB