People with cancer often feel severe or constant pain. The pain you experience depends on the type of cancer you have, the stage of your disease and the therapy you receive.
Tri-State Pain Institutes find that 25 to 30 percent of people with cancer complain of pain at the time of diagnosis and up to 75 percent of people with cancer have increased pain as the cancer progresses.
Understanding Cancer Pain
According to our pain management specialists, cancer pain can be defined as a complex sensation that reflects both damage to the body and the body’s response to the damage. At the Pain Institute, we feel that controlling cancer pain is a high priority. We also understand that many people with cancer have unfounded fears about becoming addicted to painkillers.
Cancer pain control is extremely important, not only for people suffering from advanced cancer, but also for those whose condition may remain stable for years to come.
Our patients at Tri-State Pain Institute usually describe cancer pain as dull aching, pressure, burning or tingling. The type of pain often gives clues about the sources of the pain. For example, pain caused by damage to nerves is usually described as burning or tingling, while pain affecting internal organs is often described as a sensation of pressure.
The type of pain you experience also says a lot about your cancer. Pain and changes in pain can precede other signs of disease or complications a few months ahead. The way you feel pain might be the only tip-off to a potentially life-threatening condition. For this reason, it’s important to communicate changes in how you feel.
The Complexity of Cancer Pain
The Pain Institute’s pain specialists understand that cancer pain involves many complex relationships with complicating factors. It often involves pain caused by other problems that are indirectly started or made worse by the spread of cancer. For example, shingles – a painful skin infection – is far more common in people with cancer, possibly because of damage to their immune systems. But immune system problems may be further complicated by side effects from cancer treatments that also contribute to cancer pain.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may significantly harm tissues and nerves and surgery can damage nerves. Our pain experts treat many people with cancer just to offset these problems, which may continue after the cancer is treated.