Cancer may be painful for several reasons. The tumor or its growth into nearby nerves, organs, and tissue may all be responsible. A growing tumor may cause pain by putting pressure on nerves, bones, or other organs. Cancer may also destroy the tissues after invading them, which is particularly painful when involving bones and nerves. Tumor spread or metastases could be painful for the same reasons explained.
Cancer therapy, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, may leave painful sequelae (an abnormal condition resulting from a previous disease). After surgery, recovery may be slow and painful. Radiation may burn skin and other tissues. Chemotherapy can cause many potentially painful side effects, including mouth sores, diarrhea and nerve damage. Peripheral neuropathy after chemotherapy could be difficult to treat. There are many different ways to treat cancer pain. Pain medications can usually control the pain. Most commonly used are NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil); as well as opioid medications, such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl or methadone.
Severe cases may need nerve blocks, epidurals, and morphine pumps. We may recommend a continuous delivery of medication (epidural, spinal or intravenous) and arrangements could be made to receive these at home, hospice, or the hospital.