CANCER RELATED PAIN
It is fairly common for individuals to experience pain while undergoing treatment for cancer. About 30 percent of patients do experience cancer pain which can manifest in many ways. The type of pain depends on the severity of the symptoms, the type of cancer, the treatment being carried out, and how much the cancer has advanced.
The cancer related pain may be mild or severe, acute or chronic, dull, sharp or achy. It may be constant, or it can come and go.
Cancer pain can be caused by the disease itself – for example, a tumor may put pressure on one or more nerves, bones, or organs. A cancer tumor can block blood vessels, resulting in:
- Poor circulation
- Obstructing an organ and creating subsequent health issues
- Fractures from pressure on the bones
Symptoms may also appear as a result of hormones or proteins produced by the cancer, which can affect the function of otherwise healthy tissues and organs.
Cancer pain may also be caused by the treatments used to fight the cancer itself (i.e. surgery, chemotherapy, radiation). Certain treatments may cause inflammation or weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infection.
In many cases, cancer pain can be effectively managed using a combination of opioid and non-opioid analgesics. Most pain medications require a prescription and should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision.
Other treatment options for cancer-related pain include:
- Nerve blocks
- Intrathecal pumps (morphine pump)
- Neuroablative procedures
- Implantable epidural catheters
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
- Massage therapy