About Cancer Pain

Cancer and cancer treatments can sometimes cause moderate to severe pain. If you're suffering from cancer pain, it's good to know that managing your pain is possible.

Definition

"Cancer" refers to any one of a large number of diseases. People with cancer have abnormal cells in their bodies that divide uncontrollably and can destroy normal body tissue. Cancer can spread throughout the body and sometimes causes moderate to severe pain.

Causes

There are several biological reasons you may feel cancer pain:

  • Cancer treatment such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy
  • Scar tissue resulting from surgery or cancer treatment
  • A tumour may grow into – or crowd out – organs, nerves, or other parts of the body

Symptoms

Cancer pain usually falls into one of two categories:

  • Nociceptive pain – caused by damage to body tissue; usually described as sharp, aching, or throbbing. Nociceptive pain can be caused by cancer spreading to the bones, muscles, or joints or something that causes the blockage of an organ or blood vessels.
  • Neuropathic pain – caused by actual nerve damage; often described as a burning or heavy sensation, or numbness. Neuropathic pain can be caused by a cancer tumour pressing on a nerve or a group of nerves.

Diagnosis

Your doctor may diagnose you with cancer pain if:

  • Your pain doesn't go away, even when medication is taken as directed
  • Side effects are getting in the way of your daily activities/reducing your quality of life

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 27 Sep 2010

Section Navigation

Additional information

Contact Us

Medtronic Australasia Pty Ltd 
Medtronic
97 Waterloo Road
North Ryde NSW 2113
PO Box 945
North Ryde NSW 1670
work 1800 668 670 (Toll Free)
work +61 (0)2 9857 9000
Australasia