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Pain (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 04/10/2014

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General Information About Pain



Cancer or treatment for cancer may cause you to feel pain.

Tumors, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy may cause you pain. Patients with advanced cancer have more severe pain, and many cancer survivors have pain that continues after cancer treatment ends.

Pain control can improve your quality of life.

Pain can be controlled in most patients with cancer. Although cancer pain cannot always be relieved completely, there are ways to lessen pain in most patients. Pain control can improve your quality of life all through your cancer treatment and after it ends.

Pain can be managed before, during, and after diagnostic and treatment procedures.

Many diagnostic and treatment procedures are painful. It helps to start pain control before the procedure begins. Some drugs may be used to help you feel calm or fall asleep. Treatments such as imagery or relaxation can also help control pain and anxiety related to treatment. Knowing what will happen during the procedure and having a relative or friend stay with you may also help lower anxiety.

Each patient needs a personal plan to control cancer pain.

Each person's diagnosis, cancer stage, response to pain, and personal likes and dislikes are different. For this reason, each patient needs a personal plan to control cancer pain. You, your family, and your healthcare team can work together to manage your pain. As part of your pain control plan, your healthcare provider can give you and your family members written instructions to control your pain at home. Find out who you should call if you have questions.

This summary is about ways to control cancer pain in adults, including the following: