Cancer Pain

Cancer Pain Treatment in Arizona


Cancer pain is controllable. Having cancer does not always mean that you have to deal with pain. If you do have pain, there are different kinds of medicines that help, as well as various ways to take the medicines. There are also drug-free methods of pain control.


How common is cancer pain?


The prevalence of pain at the time of diagnosis, and during the early stages of the disease, is around 50%. As cancer advances, the prevalence rate is 75%. In a meta-analysis, the prevalence of pain among cancer survivors was found to be 33%. Regarding the pain associated with tumors, rates include:


  • Head and neck pain (80%)
  • Prostate (75%)
  • Uterine (60%)
  • Genitourinary (75%)
  • Breast (65%)
  • Pancreatic (77%)


What are the types of cancer pain?


There are different types of cancer pain. The type of pain that you have determines the type of treatment you need. Many cancer patients have said that their pain changes throughout the day. Here is a list of the different types of pain:


  • Chronic/persistent pain. This type of pain can last for long periods of time, usually longer than three months. It’s life-changing, and disrupts daily life if not treated. It can range from a milder type pain to a more severe discomfort. Chronic pain doesn’t go away, yet it can be controlled by medications taken regularly.


  • Acute pain. This pain usually last a much shorter time than chronic pain. Often, acute pain is severe in nature. It usually indicates that the body has received an injury of some sort. Acute pain usually goes away once the injury heals.


  • Breakthrough pain. This pain is called a flare-up or flare of pain that comes on even though you’re taking your pain medication on a regular basis. Breakthrough pain gets its name because pain can break through the medication and be quite severe. It is not controlled by the regular doses of pain medication, is not usually predicted, and can vary in intensity. Breakthrough pain usually comes on fast and lasts up to an hour. It feels a lot like chronic pain except it’s much worse and intense. It can happen daily, or occur many times a day, even when chronic pain is under control by the medicine you take.


What causes cancer pain?


Cancer pain is usually caused by the cancer itself. The type of cancer, it’s stage, and the amount of pain that you can handle (tolerance), all determines the amount of pain that you may have. People with an advanced cancer usually have more pain. Cancer pain is sometimes caused by treatments or tests for the cancer, or you may just get regular pain that isn’t associated with the cancer or treatments. You may have common everyday pains as in headaches, arthritis, and so on.


What symptoms are associated with cancer pain?


Many times, pain is caused by a tumor or growth pressing on the nerves, bones, or body organs. Symptoms associated with cancer pain include:


  • Bone pain. When cancer spreads to the bones, it can lead to severe pain. A treatment may be used to control the cancer and protect the bones. Radiation may be used to treat the weakened bone. Sometimes, radioactive medicine is given that settles in the affected areas of bone and helps to make them stronger. Bisphosphonates are other medicines that can help make diseased bones much stronger, and this helps keep the bones from breaking.


  • Spinal cord compression. When a tumor spreads out to the spine, it can press on the spinal cord. This is called spinal cord compression. You may experience neck and/or back pain due to the compression, as well as numbness or weakness in the arm or leg. A few things may make the pain and symptoms worse, such as coughing, sneezing, or other quick movements. You will need help right away if experiencing this pain.


How is cancer pain diagnosed and treated?


Different tests are done to diagnosis cancer. Some of the tests are painful yet much needed in order to diagnosis and treat. Any pain that should occur can be relieved. The tests are necessary to pinpoint exactly what you have and even the kind of medicine that you need for the pain. Even if told that you can handle the pain, or that the test is quick, you may ask for pain medication if you need it.


One of the treatments of cancer is surgery, especially if a solid tumor is involved. Some amount of pain is expected with any kind of surgery that you may have. You will be given pain medications so you won’t be in pain after surgery. The pain from the surgery usually lasts between a few days to a few weeks, depending on the type of procedure.


Dr. Ajay Yeddu at Desert Interventional Spine Consultants offers exceptional cancer pain treatment to a broad area in Phoenix metro including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek, Scottsdale and Maricopa AZ. For compassionate, caring pain treatment with cancer, call DISC today!




  • Jarlbaek L, Hallas J, Kragstrup J, Andersen M. Cancer patients’ first treatment episode with opioids: a pharmacoepidemiological perspective. Support Care Cancer 2006;14:340–7.
  • Potter J, Higginson IJ. Pain experienced by lung cancer patients: a review of prevalence, causes and pathophysiology. Lung Cancer 2004;43:247–57.
  • Vainio A, Auvinen A; Symptom Prevalence Group. Prevalence of symptoms among patients with advanced cancer: an international collaborative study. J Pain Symptom Manage 1996;12:3–10.
  • Valeberg BT, Rustoen T, Bjordal K, Hanestad BR, Paul S, Miaskowski C. Self-reported prevalence, etiology, and characteristics of pain in oncology outpatients. Eur J Pain 2008;12:582–90.
  • van den Beuken-van Everdingen MH, de Rijke JM, Kessels AG, Schouten HC, van Kleef M, Patijn J. Prevalence of pain in patients with cancer: a systematic review of the past 40 years. Ann Oncol 2007;18:1437–49.