Cancer Pain

Cancer Pain | Comprehensive Pain Management Center

Cancer Pain

Cancer pain is a syndrome explained as a patient’s experience of pain due to their malignancy.

It may be divided into acute and chronic pains. Acute pain is usually associated with

diagnostic or therapeutic intervention such as bone marrow biopsies or injections but may

sometimes be related to the tumor. Chronic pain is usually directly linked to the malignancy.

About three-fourths of cancer patients with chronic pain have somatic disorders, defined as

tumor interaction of bone, joints, muscle, or connective tissue, visceral pain, if the tumor has

swelled inside hollow organs, or neuropathic syndromes, which is tumor involvement of the

spinal cord, nerve roots, plexuses, or peripheral nerves.

Assessment of cancer pain is difficult as each patient experiences it differently. Evaluation of

cancer pain is based on a combination of the patient’s description of pain, physical examination,

information from other tests, and the history of the patient’s treatments and previous pain


Pain Report

  • Intensity (mild, moderate, severe)
  • Temporal evaluation (onset, duration, frequency)

Cancer pain can be further simplified to nociceptive, neuropathic, or psychogenic pain.

  1. Nociceptive pain is injury to bone, joints, or muscles described as aching, stabbing,throbbing, and pressure-like.
  2. Neuropathic pain is nerve damage described as burning, numbness, and a heavy sensation.
  3. Psychogenic pain is described as a persistent pain that is increased, prolonged, or caused by psychological factors, such as depression, emotional state, physical behavior, and personality traits.

Treatment of cancer pain is individualized for each patient depending on what a physician

believes will be most beneficial. Common treatments include muscle relaxants, opioid

medications, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, biofeedback, massage therapy, and

radiation therapy or surgery.


Comprehensive Pain Management Center