About one-third of people with cancer have pain. Cancer pain can be affected by:
Most cancer pain can be managed with treatment.
Cancer pain may be caused by:
Chemotherapy Affects the Whole Body
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Having cancer is the main risk factor for cancer pain.
Cancer pain will vary from person to person. The pain may be:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Tests may also be done to find possible causes of the pain. They may include:
Imaging tests such as:
Nerve tests, such as:
Treatment depends on the type of pain. It also depends on how the cancer has been treated. The goal is to manage pain. Options may be:
Radiation therapy can help to shrink tumors and ease:
Alternative treatments to ease pain may include:
Procedures are sometimes used to ease cancer pain. Options may be:
Counseling and support groups may also be advised—to help with coping.
Cancer pain usually cannot be prevented.
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Canadian Cancer Society
Provincial Health Services Authority
Cancer pain. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/pain.html. Accessed September 22, 2021.
Cancer pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cancer-pain. Accessed September 22, 2021.
Deng G. Integrative medicine therapies for pain management in cancer patients. Cancer J. 2019;25(5):343-348.
General information about cancer pain. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/pain/pain-pdq. Accessed September 22, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 9/22/2021