Cancer Pain

One of the most debilitating symptoms of cancer is excruciating pain , and it is quite common and can be frustrating among   patients and  long-time  cancer survivors due to being under treated or mismanaged.  Pain  can be a result of  cancer itself or its  treatment, or even a combination of both—and  can have a variable  time  frame  from short to long lasting ,  after  the  treatment ends.

Cancer pain is unique, and every patient requires an individualized treatment plan to alleviate this pain. At IPSC, our aim is to improve each patient’s quality of life, minimize pain, and effectively avoid side effects like nausea, vomiting, sedation, renal and liver failure that result from medications. We manage pain with minimally invasive interventions using most modern technology without there being risk of surgery or requirement of anaesthesia, or days of hospitalisation. Our specialists assess the cause, severity and type of pain which is the key to finding most effective treatment as different types of pain like neuropathic, movement-related or chronic pain respond differently to treatment options.


  • Every year in India 10 lakh people are newly detected with Cancer. Among that 60% of them are already in advanced stages.
  • Pain is the main reason to visit doctors in 30-50% people before they are diagnosed with Cancer.
  • Almost 90% advanced stage Cancer patients have Pain and 40% die in severe pain.
  • More than 90% Pain in Cancer patients can be controlled with medications and in advanced Cancer stages using MIPSI.

Q. How do you treat stage 4 cancer pain?
A. As the cancer progress, it may spread to other areas of the body and may cause pain in locations other than the area of primary cancer. Cancer pain treatment plan may change with the location of the spread. 

In a locally advanced cancer, if the cancer is compressing the tissues and causing some obstruction, we may have to decompress by surgery. 

Q. How can you deal with cancer pain?
A. Pain in the cancer patient may be mild in the initial stages but may progress to very severe as the cancer progress. Patients must visit pain specialist at the early stages of cancer itself. Depending on the severity and type of pain, your pain specialist will decide the doses and also the type of medications. Only pain killers are not sufficient in most of the cases of cancer pain. 

Q. Is cancer pain worse than chemo and radiation pain?
A.Radiation therapy and chemotherapy, both may lead to development of new kind of pain. This pain may aggravate your present pain. Inform your pain specialist about any such treatment, so that they can adjust your doses accordingly and may add another class of medications. Some medicines like oral steroids may help in reducing the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. 

Q. How does cancer pain differ from non-cancer pain?
A.Cancer pain is a mixed kind of pain. That makes it difficult to be managed and that is the reason you must visit Pain doctor who are specialist in managing chronic pain and cancer pain. Most of the time, pain is only felt when the disease has already progressed. In such cases, your pain doctor may put you on different class of medicines. 

Q. Can cancer pain be intermittent or constant?
A.Pain in cancer may be intermittent or constant pain. At times, with constant pain there are bouts of severe pain which may last for few min to few hours. To control this pain, your pain specialist may give you SOS medications to control breakthrough pain

Q. Why does pancreatic cancer pain come and go?
A.The obstruction of the pancreatic ducts, which helps in taking pancreatic juices, causes pain in pancreatic cancer. Whenever juices are released, they increases the pressure and the pain increases. 

Q. What are some ways to relieve cancer pain?
A.Medications using WHO’s step ladder is the most commonly way to manage cancer pain. If medical management fails or is inadequate, your pain specialist may perform some minimally invasive procedures to block the pain signals. 

Q. Is bone cancer pain localized?
A.Bone cancer pain is difficult to localize clinically but with MRI your pain and spine specialist can localise the exact source of pain. 

Q. How the neurolytic pain procedures help in reducing pain in cancer?
A.Neurolytic pain procedures aims at reducing the pain signals originating from the site of cancer. Some cancers at certain stage are not treatable but the pain can be adequately controlled by minimally invasive procedures using chemical or radiofrequency ablation . These procedures have minimal effect on the functioning of the patient and have shown to increase the quality of life and also helps in reducing the doses of opiods.  



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IPSC center of excellence in pain management, offers a variety of courses every month throughout the year for doctors wishing to specialize in pain management.

  • Multidisciplinary course covering early diagnosis and effective management of acute, chronic and cancer pain.
  • Authored by experts in the field of pain management or related disciplines.
  • Developed and endorsed by the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the IPSC Experts.
  • Contains standardized, high-quality content, relevant for all practitioners.