Cancer and cancer treatment can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including pain. If you do have pain, it can be difficult to perform day-to-day activities, sleep through the night, and even enjoy the people around you. However, pain is not a normal part of having cancer. Most cancer-related or cancer treatment-related pain can be managed. The type of pain you’re experiencing determines the treatment plan.
What causes pain in people with cancer?
Pain caused by cancer itself often stems from a tumor pressing on nerves, organs, or bones. For example, if a tumor is located near the spine, it can press on the spinal nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness.
In some cases, the pain can be caused by side effects of the cancer treatment. Certain types of chemotherapy can cause nerve damage resulting in nerve pain in the legs and feet. Radiation can cause irritation and sensitivity of the skin and other tissues.
If you’re going through cancer treatment and experience new symptoms or any changes, it’s important to speak to your cancer care team.
How to manage pain
Managing cancer pain often takes a multidisciplinary team approach. Treating pain symptoms is not always simple, but your doctor and cancer care team can help you develop a pain control plan that works for you.
A pain control plan may involve:
- Medications (oral including opioid medications, skin patches, injections, patient-controlled analgesia)
- Surgery to disrupt the nerve pathways
- Treatments such as radiation to shrink tumor
- Physical therapy
- Psychological support and guidance
- Relaxation techniques such as massage or acupuncture
For more information, visit Jordan Valley Cancer Center at www.JVcancercenter.com