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Cancer Pain

What Is Cancer Pain?

Cancer pain can be caused by cancer itself, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of the disease and treatments. It can feel like a dull ache or a sharp pain.

Cancerous tumors can cause pain because as they grow; they may press on or destroy nearby nerves, bones or organs.

In some cases, the pain is located at the site of the tumor. If the cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body, such as the bones, it can cause pain in those areas.


The symptoms of cancer pain can vary depending on the cause of your pain. Symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal cramps – Cramps in the area between your chest and groin
  • Bone and joint pain – Pain often linked to bone cancer or cancer that has metastasized 
  • Constipation – Difficulty passing stools
  • Diarrhea – Loose, frequent stools
  • Mucositis – Painful mouth sores
  • Nausea and vomiting – Feeling queasy or the inability to keep food down
  • Peripheral neuropathy – Nerve pain and numbness in your outer extremities, including your hands, fingers, arms, feet and legs

Treatment Options

Treatment options for cancer pain depend on what is causing your pain. It is important to let your doctor know if you have pain after a cancer diagnosis, during treatment or recovery. There are many ways we can help relieve your pain. Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following therapies:

  • Behavioral health therapy – Talk therapy can help you develop mental and emotional coping skills when dealing with pain.
  • Medication management – Your doctor may recommend medication, such as intrathecal drug delivery (pumps), over-the-counter pain relievers, topical ointments, anti-inflammatory medications, antidepressants, anti-epileptics, weak opioid medications or strong opioid medications, to treat your pain.
  • Nerve blocks –Injections can help manage various types of pain by blocking nerve signals. We offer nerve blocks including trigger point injections, peripheral nerve blocks, sympathetic nerve blocks and epidural injections.
  • Physical therapy – Exercise can help strengthen and support your muscles and joints.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of cancer pain, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat cancer pain.