Pain and cancer
This section covers cancer pain and how it is managed during and after treatment, and in palliative care. Some people with cancer have pain. This can be caused by the cancer, its treatment, or other underlying conditions unrelated to the cancer.
Learn about what cancer pain is, what causes it, the different types, how it is managed, and more.
Learn how to describe your pain to your health care team. This can include using a pain scale and keeping a pain diary.
Find out about the main types of pain control, and tips on keeping track of your medicines and using your medicines safely.
Whether you’re using paracetamol, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or an opioid, it helps to know how it works and the possible side effects.
There are other ways to reduce pain that don’t involve medicine. Often a combination of treatments and therapies is more effective than just using one.
Once cancer treatment has finished, any ongoing pain may need a different approach.
If the cancer is advanced, pain management may be an important aspect of palliative care.
If you are caring for someone with cancer-related pain, you may have many questions and concerns.
- What is causing my pain?
- Is the pain likely to get better or worse?
- What treatments do you recommend? What is the aim of each treatment?
- How long will the treatments take to work?
- How often should I take my medicine?
- Should I take extra doses if I still get pain?
- Are there other options if the medicine doesn’t work?
- Can you tell me about non-medicine treatments?
- Are there any complementary therapies that might help?
- What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment?
- How can the side effects be managed?
- Will the different medicines I’m taking interfere with each other?
- Will I be able to drive when I’m taking this medicine?
- Are there any precautions I need to take, such as not drinking alcohol?
- Will I get addicted to my pain medicine?
- Who will manage my prescriptions?
- How much will my medicine cost? Can I reduce the cost of it?
- Will I keep seeing you about my pain relief, or will I see my GP or palliative care team?
- Who can I contact in an emergency?
- Who can I contact if I have questions when I am at home?
- How can I record my pain levels and any breakthrough pain?