Having cancer does not always mean having pain. But if you do have pain, you can work with our health care team to make sure a pain relief plan is part of your care. There are many different kinds of medicines, different ways to take the medicines and non-drug methods that can help relieve it.
How cancer might be painful?
If you have pain, you might not be able to do your job well or take part in other day-to-day activities. You might be irritable with the people you love. It’s easy to get frustrated, sad, and even angry when you’re in pain. Family and friends don’t always understand how you’re feeling, and you may feel very alone. This is not unusual, so it's important to take care of your pain and get your life back.
Can cancer pain be relieved?
You should never accept pain as a normal part of having cancer. It's important to remember that all pain can be treated to a certain degree. Cancer pain or any pain may not always be completely relieved, but our doctors can work with you to control and lessen it as much as possible. Knowing how to report and describe it can help your health care team know how to treat it.
What causes pain with cancer?
The cancer itself can causes pain. The amount of pain you have depends on different factors, including the type of cancer, its stage (extent), other health problems you may have, and your pain threshold (tolerance for pain).
Pain from the cancer itself
Pain from the cancer can be caused by a tumor pressing on nerves, bones, or organs.
Pain from cancer surgery, treatments, and tests:
Surgical pain: Surgery is often part of the treatment for cancers that grow as solid tumors. Depending on the kind of surgery you have, some amount of pain is usually expected and can last from a few days to weeks. Talk to our doctors about pain medicines you may need after surgery so you won’t be in pain when your surgery is over. You may need stronger pain medicine at first after surgery, but after a few days or so you should be able to control it with less strong medicines.
Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments:
Some treatment side effects cause pain. Pain can even make some people stop treatment if it’s not managed. Talk to your cancer care team about any changes you notice or any pain you have.