What Is Cancer Pain?

Pain resulting from malignancies of the abdominal organs represents a unique challenge for treatment for the pain physician. The main difficulty lies in the diffuse and vague nature of the affected organ. While some organs reflect pain near the organ location, others organs present with pain entirely removed, called referred pain. For example, pancreatic cancer low back pain refers to the back confusing the diagnosis with the pathology of the lumbar spine.

Proper imaging, bloodwork, and diagnostic blocks help to identify the pain generator. Diagnostic and therapeutic sympathetic blocks may help reduce pain. If diagnostic blocks are successful and the patient reports satisfactory improvement, they can be treated with radio-frequency or chemical destruction of the sympathetic ganglia.  In certain malignancies, spinal cord sensory cells are selectively destroyed to provide long-term pain relief.


Cancer Pain Overview

Long-term medication management are also options for pain control. These are less specific and have other associated side effects, such as chronic constipation and sedation. Recent advances in peripheral and central neural stimulation have also been employed for select locations of cancer pain. More advanced therapies include delivering medication directly to the spinal cord via very fine surgically implanted catheter. This method called intrathecal medication delivery can be a self-contained with a reservoir buried in the soft tissues near the hip or an external.

As with other pain conditions, physical therapy,  complementary therapies, acupuncture and correction of bloodwork related deficiencies are all the part of the general strategy. A multidisciplinary approach often has the greatest impact.

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Treatment options for current condition

Conservative Treatment

  • Medications
  • Acupuncture

Interventional Pain Management