Cancer pain is a common complication of cancer diseases. Because of the chronic and progressive nature of the disease, cancer pain is a common cause of chronic pain. Cancer pain results from tissue damage, either due to the disease itself, or due to treatment (chemotherapy, radiotherapy). The principles of management of cancer pain include:
- Treatment of the cancer
- Providing information, counseling and support to the patient
- Effective treatment of the pain
- Setting realistic goals for pain management
Pain is a common symptom in patients with cancer, with one third experiencing pain at diagnosis and two thirds experiencing pain with advanced cancer. Treatment for cancer pain will vary between patients, as different patients may experience different levels of pain even if they have the same form of cancer.
If the pain is from the cancer itself, it can be from the cancer growing into or destroying nearby tissue. As a tumor grows, it can press on nerves, bones or organs. The tumor can also release chemicals that can cause pain, or your body's reaction to the chemicals can cause pain.
Treatment of the cancer can help the pain in these situations. However, cancer treatments, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, also can cause pain.