Pain is a symptom that can, and should, be controlled.

If you are experiencing pain as a result of cancer or its treatment, you should know that managing pain is an important part of your overall care. Pain affects your quality of life: your ability to get a good night’s sleep, your daily activities, your eating habits, even your outlook and how well you can interact with others. But your health care team can help control cancer pain. You are the expert on the severity of your pain and its impact on your daily life. Your doctors and nurses are there to help you find out what is causing it and how to treat it.

In this e-booklet, you will learn more about different types of pain, how they are treated and how you can work with your health care team to get the best possible pain control. There are effective ways to manage the different types of pain:

  • Chronic pain, which is constant and persists for three months or longer;
  • Intermittent pain, which occurs now and then, rather than continually, and is usually related to a particular event or activity;
  • Breakthrough pain, which consists of intense flare-ups of pain that “break through” regular pain medication.

Causes of Cancer Pain

People with cancer can experience pain from different sources:

The tumor itself can cause pain when it presses on or grows into healthy tissues that are sensitive to pain.

Treatment can also cause pain. Sometimes there is pain after surgery. Chemotherapy can lead to pain as a result of mouth sores, for example, or numbness, tingling or burning sensations in the hands or feet.

You may experience more than one type of pain at the same time. Controlling these different types of pain may require different approaches, which is why it is so important for your doctor to understand the cause of your pain.