Cancer pain is often one of the most difficult side effects of the disease. Not only will disease progress and damage the body’s tissues, but the cancer pain after chemotherapy and radiotherapy have patients feeling that it is difficult to manage without medical intervention. While the research shows that a third of patients experience pain due to their diagnosis, the other two-thirds report their pain is connected directly to their treatment and persists long-term at various levels.

What Is Cancer Pain?

There are three primary classifications of cancer pain including acute, chronic, and breakthrough.

  1. Acute: It is a serious onset of pain that is a sign something is amiss in your body.
  2. Chronic: It can be mild to debilitating and last longer than twelve weeks. It will not go away until the underlying medical condition has been treated and healed properly.
  3. Breakthrough: It is a sudden explosion of pain that exceeds the limits of pain medication and may last up to an hour. It has the same symptoms of chronic pain, but this pain type may require more medication, an additional prescription type, or a change in treatment.

What Are The Seven Warning Signs Of Cancer Pain Causes?

What are the seven warning signs of cancer? Doctors recommend patients seek medical intervention when any of these seven cancer symptoms are present and become more obvious.

  1. Bladder Or Bowel Changes
  2. Unhealable Sores
  3. Lump In Breast Or Body
  4. Long-Term Cough Or Hoarseness
  5. Unfamiliar Discharge Or Bleeding
  6. Mole Or Wart Growth Or Change
  7. Trouble Swallowing Or With Indigestion

What Does The Pain Feel Like When You Have Cancer?

What does the pain feel like when you have cancer? It is a common question that many people ask in anticipation of their own cancer battles. Here are the cancer pain types you will expect.

  • Nociceptive pain, the most common, affects your sensory nerves in bone and tissue.
  • Neuropathic pain is a sharp pain that results when nerves are damaged or irritated.
  • Somatic pain derives from tissue and bone nerve endings.
  • Refractory pain is persistent and long-term despite treatment.
  • Visceral pain affects the body’s internal organs due to pain receptor activity.
  • Pressure pain is dependent on the location and expansion of cancer.

When speaking to our cancer pain management team, it is critical that you let us know of the area you experience pain as it is a cancer symptom that narrows the scope of a cancer diagnosis.

  • Headaches can indicate brain tumors.
  • Shoulder pain may indicate lung cancer.
  • Lower back pain can relate to colon or ovarian cancers.
  • Stomach pain is indicative of pancreatic, stomach, or many other cancers.

Cancer Pain Assessment Tools

Our staff at Maryland Pain & Wellness uses cancer pain assessment tools like a psychosocial assessment (visual analog scale, verbal rating scale, or numerical rating), a physical exam, and pain response classification to determine a cancer pain management plan for each patient. 

The good news about cancer pain management is that nine out of ten patients find relief with medication. Because we want to do more than just provide medicine, we offer a highly skilled team to support our patients with the best possible multidisciplinary treatment that can include PT, biofeedback, meditation, aquatic therapy, acupuncture, and full mind and body well-being.

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