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Minimally Invasive Pain Institute

Pain and Debilitating Conditions

Cancer Pain

Many people with cancer will experience pain from the cancer itself or from their cancer treatments. Depending on the type of cancer, the stage of the disease, and individual tolerance, cancer pain can be dull, aching, or sharp; constant or intermittent; or mild, moderate, or severe. Any bothersome pain problems should be reported. If the pain is minor and goes away, it is likely not serious, but if it interferes with your life or is persistent, it most likely requires management and treatment. If you have breast, lung, bladder, liver, or any other type of cancer and experience pain, read on to find out about general types of cancer pain and associated symptoms and causes.

Types of Cancer-related Pain Symptoms Common Causes
Cancer Pain Testing pain with post procedural pain that is often burning, sharp, or shooting, and worsened by movement. Neck or back pain – depending on location of cancer. Tumor growth causing pressure on surrounding tissue, bones, nerves, the spinal cord, or body organs. Effects of chemicals that the cancer may secrete.
Testing Pain Moderate to severe pain with connected sensitivity at or around the test location. Biopsy, spinal tap, lumbar punctures, blood draws, or bone marrow test.
Treatment Pain Neuropathic pain that is often burning, sharp, or shooting. Bone or joint pain. Phantom pain from loss of body part. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and other cancer treatments.

In many cases, cancer pain – whether acute or chronic – often goes untreated as a result of one or a combination of the following: patient reluctance, fear of addiction to medications, or fear of side effects on the cancer or on the body in general from pain treatments. If you do experience cancer pain, don’t just deal with it, seek a consultation and an accurate diagnosis. The type and stage of the cancer often dictates what diagnostic tests to implement and what treatments to pursue. With knowledge and action comes relief, so don’t let fear stop you from getting control over your disease and your pain.