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    Cancer Pain

    Overview
    Causes
    Treatment
     Where To Seek Treatment
    Singapore General Hospital
    Contributed by Pain Management Centre

    Overview

    How common is cancer pain?

    Cancer pain is common in cancer patients occurring in up to 90% of patients. Approximately 30% to 50% of cancer patients experience pain while undergoing treatment. Pain is one of the most feared symptoms when patients are diagnosed with cancer. With specialised treatment and care, more than 90% of all cancer pain can be well managed. This can dramatically improve the patient’s quality of life.

    Causes

    What are the causes of pain in cancer patients?

    The two most common causes of cancer pain are the cancer itself and the treatments received to treat cancer.

    When cancer itself causes pain, probable causes include the pressure of a tumour on one of the body’s organs, bones or nerves, and obstruction of blood vessels by the tumour.

    Treatment

    Treatment options at the Pain Management Centre

    Medications are the cornerstone of cancer pain treatment. Depending on your condition, our specialists at the Pain Management Centre may prescribe various combinations of medications such as paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or opioid medications. Additional treatment may include other medications to treat related nerve and bone pain resulting from the cancer or its treatment.

    For severe cancer pain uncontrolled by medications, specialised advanced treatment procedures may be used in suitable patients. These include:

    1. Nerve blocks, involving the injection of anaesthetic medication into affected areas
    2. Spinal infusion of drugs, providing long-term pain control

    There will be extensive discussions with the patient and family prior to the procedures.

    A team of nurses who are specialised in providing care, comfort and support will also support the patients.

    Chronic cancer pain often causes patients significant distress and in severe cases, depression. At the Pain Management Centre, you will also benefit from having a psychologist involved in your care.

    Referrals may also be made to the highly specialised team of Palliative Care physicians and surgeons to provide holistic care to the patients.

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