Coping with Headaches in Childhood Cancer
Symptom Management, Palliative Care, or Supportive Care to relieve side-effects is an important part of cancer care and treatment and should always form part of the overall treatment plan.
Virtually everyone gets the occasional headache, and headaches are common in people with cancer, but not all headaches feel the same or have the same cause.
Headaches are generally divided into two main categories: Primary Headaches and Secondary Headaches:
- Primary Headaches include migraines, cluster headaches, and tension headaches. Tension headaches are also known as muscle contraction headaches.
- Secondary Headaches are headaches caused by another medical condition or underlying factor, such as a brain tumour, head injury, infection, or medication.
Both primary and secondary headaches are common in people with cancer. Your child’s doctor will find the best way to treat their headache by determining the type and cause of the headache, based on your child’s symptoms.
It is important to determine which type of headache your child has via the symptoms he or she is exhibiting or experiencing. These include the duration, frequency, quality, severity, location, timing and what generally triggers the headache. The treatment will depend on those characteristics as well as the cause of the headaches.
It is also important to tell your child’s doctor or another member of their healthcare team if they are experiencing frequent or severe headaches, if the headache wakes them at night, if you notice a change in the pattern or frequency of existing headaches, or if the headaches are new and associated with other symptoms.
Keeping a headache diary to track your child’s symptoms can be helpful. Your child’s doctor may also order tests such as blood tests, a computerised tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, or other tests based on the pattern and associated symptoms.
Read more about the Effects, Signs and Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment and more regarding Headaches on our static page, Headaches in Childhood Cancer
Posted on 20 June, 2016, in Blog and tagged cancer, Child Cancer Awareness, childhood cancer, Children with Cancer, Fighting Cancer, Headaches, Little Fighters Cancer Trust, side effects. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.