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Pain is subjective. It affects each person differently, depending upon factors such as age, personality, perception, pain threshold and past experiences with pain. If you have cancer, it does not necessarily mean you will have pain. However, if you do experience pain, it should be acknowledged and treated so you can focus on more important things—like healing.
When cancer pain is not treated properly, you may be tired, depressed, angry, worried, lonely, or stressed. Pain may also slow your recovery from cancer treatment. With proper pain management, you may be able to sleep and eat better, enjoy the company of family and friends, and continue with your work and hobbies.
If you have cancer pain, the severity and prevalence of your pain may depend on many factors, including the type of cancer, the site (location) and stage (extent) of your disease, and your pain threshold (or tolerance for pain). You may experience pain from the cancer itself, or as a side effect of cancer treatment.
Cancer pain that lasts a few days or longer may result from:
Most cancer pain can be controlled with treatment. Cancer pain may be treated with medication (e.g., analgesics, also called “pharmacological pain relief”), without medication (e.g., non-drug treatments, also called “noninvasive measures”), with other treatments, or using a combination of methods.
The following list includes a broad group of pain medications:
NOTE: You should always ask your doctor for advice before taking any medication for pain. Medications are safe when they are used properly.
Non-drug treatments may be used to help manage cancer pain. In fact, some people may find that they can take a lower dose of medication by incorporating some of the following techniques:
NOTE: You should always report any new pain problems to your doctor before trying to relieve pain with non-drug pain methods.
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