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.

Cancer Pain book
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Print these questions


  • 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?

Side effects

  • 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?

Practical concerns

  • 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?

Podcast: Managing Cancer Pain

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