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Cancer Pain

The majority of people with cancer will experience pain at some time or another. The pain can result from the cancer itself, or from the cancers treatment. In addition, some people who have been cured of their cancer can continue to suffer from pain.

Cancer pain, or the discomfort that stems from cancer and its treatment, can be controlled most of the time. There are many different medicines and methods available to control cancer pain. People who have cancer and are feeling pain need to inform their doctor immediately. The earlier pain treatment is started, the more effective it is.

Mechanism of cancer pain is complex: it involves inflammatory, neuropathic, ischaemic and compression mechanisms at multiple sites. Knowledge of these mechanisms and the ability to decide whether a pain is nociceptive, neuropathic, and visceral or a combination of all three will lead to best practice in pain management.

There are many causes of cancer pain, but most cancer pain occurs when a tumour 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.

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.

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