What is cancer pain?
Not everyone with cancer experiences cancer pain, but 1 out of 3 people undergoing cancer treatment does. If you have advanced cancer, your chance of experiencing pain is even higher.
What causes cancer pain?
Cancer pain can be caused by many different sources, including:
- Pain from a tumor pressing on nerves or expanding inside a hollow organ
- Pain from bone destructive lytic lesions
- Bone pain from bone marrow infiltration
- Pain from radiation and chemotherapeutic treatments
Cancer pain varies from patient to patient. Your pain may be dull, achy or sharp. It could be constant, intermittent, mild, moderate or severe. Pain may appear at the cancer site, but it’s also possible for the pain to travel to surrounding areas.
- Biofeedback: This is a treatment that teaches a patient to become aware of processes that are normally thought to be involuntary inside of the body (such as blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate control).
- Nerve blocks: Specific nerve blocks and neuro destructive procedures can help relieve pain conditions due to cancer. One such block is used for patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer. Celiac plexus blocks can be extremely effective at treating difficult pain.
- Intrathecal pumps: Implanted pain pumps are also available, which can be extremely helpful providing long-term pain control. The effectiveness of intrathecal therapy in patients suffering from nociceptive pain showed a pain reduction in 66.7% of patients experiencing pain due to cancer (Becker 2000).