Why Does Cancer Cause Pain?

There’s much we still don’t entirely understand about cancer, but we do know that there’s an undeniable relationship between this disease and pain, though not in all cases. 

The fact is that there are more than 100 different types of cancer and not all of them cause pain. When there is pain, it can range from mild to severe, but the good news is that there are avenues for relief.

Our team here at Pain Medicine Consultants has considerable experience helping our patients who are struggling with cancer-related pain. We understand that a cancer diagnosis and its subsequent treatments are arduous and frightening, so we want to do our part to ease the journey.

Here’s a look at why some cancers cause pain and what we can do to help you find relief.

Cancer and pain

As we mentioned, there are more than 100 different types of cancers, which can affect almost every part of your body, including your hard and soft tissues, as well as fluids like blood.

The first source of cancer pain is often the cancer itself, especially cancer that has advanced and spread. For example, a tumor may press against nerves or cause pressure inside an organ or bone, which leads to pain. 

And cancer cells can release chemicals that irritate the surrounding tissues and often lead to system-wide inflammation as your body tries to fight back.

This means that your cancer pain may be localized or it may be more generalized, depending on the cancer, its stage, and how your body responds.

As if the disease itself weren’t harmful enough, treatments for cancer can also lead to pain, such as surgery to excise the cancer or chemotherapy and radiation treatments. For example, some chemotherapy and radiation treatments can lead to peripheral neuropathy, which is the term used for nerve damage.

Some patients also report phantom pain, which occurs after you’ve had a surgery to remove the cancer, such as a masectomy or the removal of a limb. With phantom pain, you feel symptoms in the area of your body that’s been removed.

The bottom line is that the link between cancer and pain can be both direct and indirect and often very complex.

Treating your cancer pain

If you’re experiencing pain and discomfort as a result of your cancer, your treatments, or both, our team can help. After thoroughly reviewing your symptoms, we work with you and your medical team to find the best solution for relieving your pain.

We can turn to:

Ultimately, your situation is unique to you because everyone responds differently when their bodies are under assault by cancer. Our goal, as pain management specialists, is to remove the pain from the equation so you have one less obstacle to overcome.

To learn more about our cancer pain treatments, contact one of our locations in Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton, or Corte Madera, California, for relief.

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