Pain from Cancer Treatment

Cancer is a disease that causes malignant or atypical cells to reproduce at a rapid rate, killing healthy tissues and creating structures known as “tumors.” A cancer patient may experience a variety of painful symptoms according to the type of cancer and where it is located. This pain can be caused by the cancer itself or the cancer treatment, but pain management should always be an integral part of any cancer treatment plan.

Nerve pain (often described as a sharp, burning, or tingling sensation) from cancer is common due to cancerous growths adding pressure to the nerves, as well as nerve damage from treatment surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. Bone pain (usually a more dull, constant or throbbing discomfort) from cancer can occur when malignant cells spread to the bones. Other parts of the body may also experience shooting, cramping, or throbbing pain during cancer treatment due to chemicals released by tumors that damage tissues.

When treating cancer pain, the pain specialist may ask the patient to describe the specific pain, its location, severity, persistence and duration in order to choose the most effective alleviation strategy. Treatments for cancer pain can include a wide range or pain management methods including over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, opioid medication, injections, nerve blocks, and surgery. Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), where a small electric current is used to disrupt pain, has also used in the treatment of pain.

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To find a pain management specialist,
call 202-877-3627 (3627)

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010 

MedStar Health at Lafayette Centre
1133 21st St. NW
Washington, DC 20036

MedStar Health at Brandywine
13950 Brandywine Road
Suite 225
Brandywine, MD 20613