Cancer pain management
Medical studies have shown that over a third of all patients suffering with cancer experience moderate to severe pain; this rises to 66% in patients who have advanced stage disease.
Cancer pain is usually caused by the presence of tumours (abnormal growths of tissues) that can press on surrounding organs, nerves or bones.
If the tumours grow, this can increase the pressure on the surrounding structures and make the pain worse.
There are a number of approaches that can be used to treat cancer pain and greatly improve quality of life.
Reducing the size of the tumour
This can be achieved by surgery (removing of all or part of the tumour), chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or hormonal-targeted treatment, depending on the size, type and location of the tumour. Even though this may or may not cure the cancer itself, reducing the tumour’s size (or removing it completely), can relieve the pressure on the surrounding structures and ease pain.
Why choose The London Clinic
Excellence in one place
We operate as teams of experts with world-class resources dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of medical care. You are surrounded by the latest treatments and advice with everything you need to get back to your best health.
Personal care, every time
Exceptional patient care is a way of life for us. Our nurses, clinicians and support teams are dedicated to the care of a very small number of patients, so have more time for you. They’ll be with you every step of the way, tailoring your care around you and giving the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you’re in the best hands.
We work together as one to guide you through each step of your experience, with complexities unravelled and answers readily to hand. Your personal treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.
What's included in your package?
Choosing The London Clinic means your treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.
Your treatment package will include:
- Enhanced pre-admission assessment
- Your treatment with our complete care team at your fingertips
- Personalised aftercare and follow-up
We want you to be in control of your health. That’s why we also offer optional services such as comprehensive recovery packages and extra touches for you to choose from during your stay with us.
How to pay
- You can use private medical insurance (PMI) to access this treatment. We work with all major PMI providers in the UK and many internationally
- You can pay for yourself (self-pay)
- If you’re paying for yourself, we have finance options available with Chrysalis
The mainstay of most cancer pain treatment is the use of opioid-type painkilling medications (like morphine or similar). These can be very effective at managing pain.
However, they do have some side effects such as drowsiness, constipation, nausea and dependence. People can also build up tolerance to them, meaning that they need increasing doses to get the same pain relief over time.
The most effective cancer pain treatment procedure is likely to depend on the type, location and stage of cancer, as well as other general health factors.
For example, neuromodulation is effective in treating pain caused by nerve damage (also known as neuropathic pain).
Pain caused by tumours or metastases (areas of cancer spread) in bones can be best treated using medications called ‘bisphosphonates’ (that help to strengthen the bones) and targeted radiotherapy.
If the pain is caused by a tumour pressing on a nearby organ, then surgery to remove all or part of the tumour can help.
All of the treatments for cancer pain can have side effects. For example:
- Opioid-type medications can often make people feel drowsy, nauseous and constipated
- Radiotherapy can make people feel nauseous and tired, as well as cause some soreness in the skin over the target site (similar to sunburn)
- Any surgical procedure will come with its own risks and side effects that must be weighed up beforehand. This includes a recurrence of any tumour which is being removed
Neuromodulation procedures can cause some problems related to the insertion of the small wire electrodes, as well as device failure, pain at the insertion site or damage to nearby structures.
Many of the common side effects associated with cancer pain treatments, such as nausea, fatigue and constipation, can also be treated with additional medications, physiotherapy and simple measures such as ensuring adequate hydration.