The pain in cancer may be due to the cancer itself 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. In addition, cancer treatments, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, also can cause pain.
Acute pain: Acute cancer pain is short-lived and usually lasts less than 3 months. It is usually caused by tests, procedures, or surgeries
Breakthrough pain: Breakthrough pain is one kind of acute pain. This pain happens because cancer pain is not always steady and does not stay the same. As cancer changes or grows, it may cause pain which usually only lasts about 30 minutes or so. Then it goes away.
Chronic pain: Chronic cancer pain is pain that lasts longer than three to six months. This kind of pain is often more complex. This is because there are so many different organs in your body that may be affected by the cancer. Chronic pain may happen if you have surgery to remove the cancer and the area heals but still hurts.
There are a variety of ways. One is to remove the source of the pain through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or other treatment.
If that can't be done, pain medications can usually control the pain. These medications include:
Some medications come in tablets or liquids you swallow; others dissolve quickly in your mouth. You can receive some medications by shots, either under the skin or in a vein; through rectal suppositories; or by wearing a skin patch.
Other medications used to treat cancer pain are antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs and steroids.
Also, there are specialized treatments, such as a nerve block, in which a local anesthetic or a neurolytic agent is injected around a nerve or nerve plexus. The block prevents pain messages along that nerve pathway from reaching the brain.
If the pain interferes with your life or is persistent, report it. It might help to keep track of your pain by noting down:
Using a pain-rating scale from 0 to 10 — with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain imaginable — might help you to report your pain to your doctor.