What is Cancer Pain

Cancer pain refers to pain that is caused by cancer or its treatments. It is a typical symptom of cancer patients and can affect many sections of the body. Cancer pain can be caused by cancer cells putting pressure on organs or tissues, invading bones or nerves, or releasing chemicals that cause pain. Chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and surgery can all cause pain as a side effect. Cancer pain management is critical to cancer treatment and can enhance a patient's quality of life.

Types of Cancer Pain

  • Acute pain:sudden onset and typically lasts for a short period of time.

  • Chronic pain: persists for an extended period.

  • Breakthrough pain: sudden, intense pain that occurs despite taking regular pain medication.

  • Neuropathic pain:caused by nerve damage and can be severe and difficult to manage.

Common Conditions under Cancer Pain

  • Bone pain: The most common type of cancer pain caused by cancer spreading to the bones.

  • Nerve pain:caused by nerve damage or compression.

  • Muscle pain: caused by tension, spasms or inflammation.

  • Visceral pain: caused by cancer spreading to the organs.

Causes of Cancer Pain

  • Cancer itself: cancer cells can put pressure on organs or tissues, invade bones or nerves, or release chemicals that cause pain.

  • Cancer treatments: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery can cause pain as a side effect.

  • Nerve damage: cancer can damage or compress nerves, causing pain.

  • Inflammation: cancer cells can cause inflammation, leading to pain.

Symptoms of Cancer Pain

  • Aching, dull, or sharp pain
  • Burning or shooting pain
  • Stiffness or difficulty moving
  • Fatigue, depression, or anxiety
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Swelling or tenderness in affected areas
  • Reduced appetite or weight loss
  • Difficulty sleeping

Treatment of Cancer Pain

NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications), Opioids, and anticonvulsants treat cancer pain. Other options may include physical therapy, nerve blocks, or radiation therapy. The source, degree, and kind of pain will determine the treatment strategy.

Here are some of the cancer pain therapy options which include

  • Medications: For less pain, pain relievers such as paracetamol and NSAIDs can be helpful. Doctors may prescribe opioids to patients, such as fentanyl, morphine, and oxycodone, for moderate to severe pain.

  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy may be used to shrink tumors that are causing pain or to target specific nerves that are causing pain.

  • Nerve blocks: Nerve blocks involve injecting a local anesthetic into the nerves that are causing pain to numb the area.

  • Physical therapy: By integrating exercises and stretches that enhance strength and flexibility, physical therapy can help reduce pain and improve mobility.

  • Surgery: Surgery may be an option for patients with cancer pain caused by tumors that are compressing nerves or other organs.

  • Palliative care: It may help with various medical, emotional, and spiritual requirements, such as pain and symptom management, emotional and spiritual support, and decision-making assistance. Palliative care practitioners collaborate with a patient's healthcare team to create an individualized care plan that suits their specific requirements and aspirations

Interventional Pain Specialist How we can help you

An interventional pain specialist can play a critical role in managing cancer pain. They specialize in diagnosing and treating pain using minimally invasive procedures and advanced techniques. They are medical professionals focusing on using minimally invasive techniques to identify and manage pain.

An interventional pain specialist can help with several methods, such as

  • Diagnosing the Source of Pain: An interventional pain expert can identify the precise source of the patient's pain using diagnostic techniques like nerve blocks and imaging tests.

  • Providing Targeted Pain Relief: An interventional pain specialist can offer targeted pain relief by using procedures such as nerve blocks, epidural injections, and radiofrequency ablation to block or disrupt pain signals. These treatments can help people use fewer opioid drugs and feel better for a long time.

  • Managing side effects of cancer treatment: An interventional pain specialist can use specialized techniques like spinal cord stimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation to control the adverse effects of cancer treatment, such as neuropathic pain.

  • Reducing the need for surgery:In some cases, interventional pain procedures can help patients avoid surgery for cancer pain. For cancer-related chronic back pain patients, spinal cord stimulation can be an excellent alternative to surgery.

  • Collaboration: An interventional pain specialist can develop a pain management plan that considers the patient's overall health and treatment goals. By working closely with the patient's oncologist, primary care physician, and other medical professionals.

What are the precautions and management of Cancer Pain

To manage cancer pain, it is essential to work closely with a healthcare team to develop a treatment plan. Patients ought to consume their medications as directed and notify their doctor if their pain levels change or have any adverse effects. Other management strategies may include relaxation techniques, exercise, and alternative therapies.


Cancer pain can be challenging to manage, but patients can find relief from their symptoms with the proper diagnosis and therapy. Working with a healthcare team to build a personalized treatment plan and actively participate in cancer pain management is critical.