Cancer Pain (cont.)
In this Article
What Causes Cancer Pain?
There are many causes of cancer pain, but most cancer pain occurs when a tumor presses on nerves or body organs or when cancer cells invade bones or body organs. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery also may cause pain.
What Are the Symptoms of Cancer Pain?
The symptoms of cancer pain vary from person to person. The amount of pain present may depend on the type of cancer, the stage or extent of the disease, and the person's pain threshold (tolerance for pain). Pain can range from mild and occasional to severe and constant.
What Medicines Are Used To Treat Cancer Pain?
Mild to Moderate Pain
Pain relievers: Tylenol and a group of pain relievers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Motrin and Aleve) can treat mild to moderate pain. Many of these are over-the-counter drugs that do not require a prescription, but some do require a prescription. Patients should check with a physician before using these medicines, especially if chemotherapy is being administered. NSAIDs can slow blood clotting.
Moderate to Severe Pain
Narcotic pain relievers: These drugs include morphine, Actiq, Duragesic, Dilaudid, oxycodone (sold under the brand names OxyContin, Percocet, and Tylox) and codeine. Narcotic pain relievers require a prescription and may be used along with mild pain relievers for moderate to severe pain.
Onset narcotic pain relievers: Onset narcotic pain relievers, which require a prescription, are used to treat breakthrough pain (a flare-up of pain characterized by rapid onset, severe intensity and short duration). Immediate-release oral morphine is among these drugs.
Tingling and Burning Pain