What causes pain in people with cancer?
Pain is most often caused by the cancer itself. But pain can also be caused by the treatment or the tests done to diagnose cancer. You may also have pain that has nothing to do with your cancer or its treatment. Like anyone, you can get headaches, muscle strains, and other aches and pains.
Cancer pain can almost always be relieved or lessened.
There are many medicines and methods that can be used to control cancer pain. You should expect your health care team to work with you to keep you as comfortable as possible. But no one doctor can know everything about all medical problems, and sometimes pain is a subject they don’t know as much about. Even though a lot of progress has been made, some doctors and nurses do not know the best ways to treat cancer pain.
If you are in pain and your doctor has nothing more to offer, ask to see a pain specialist or have your doctor consult with a pain specialist.
Controlling your cancer pain is part of your cancer treatment.
Your doctor wants and needs to hear about what works for your pain and what does not. Knowing about the pain will help your doctor know more about how the cancer and the treatment are affecting your body. Talking about pain will not distract your doctor from treating the cancer.
Pain from procedures and surgery
Procedures and testing
Some tests used to diagnose cancer and see how well treatment is working are painful. If you and your doctors agree that such a procedure is needed, concern about pain should not keep you from having it done. Any pain you have during and after the procedure can usually be relieved. Your needs and the type of procedure to be done should dictate the kinds of medicine you can get for the pain. You may be told that the pain from the procedure can’t be avoided or that it won’t last long. Even so, you should ask for pain medicine if you need it.
- Surgical pain
- Phantom pain
- Pain from other cancer treatments
- Peripheral neuropathy (PN)
- Mouth sores (stomatitis or mucositis)
- Radiation mucositis and other radiation injuries
Precautions when taking NSAIDs
Some people have problems that NSAIDs may make worse. In general, NSAIDs should be avoided by people who:
- Are on chemotherapy
- Are taking steroids
- Are taking blood pressure medicines
- Have stomach ulcers or a history of ulcers, gout, or bleeding disorders
- Are taking prescription medicines for arthritis
- Are taking oral medicine (drugs by mouth) for diabetes or gout
- Have kidney problems
- Will have surgery within a week
- Are taking blood-thinning medicine
- Are taking lithium
Stopping pain impulses from going through the nerves
- Nerve block
- Spinal analgesia