Does Cancer Cause Pain?

Cancer is often associated with pain, and those affected often suffer from constant or severe pain. However, this is not always the case and, more often than not, the pain associated with cancer will depend on the stage the disease is at as well as the type of cancer that the person has. In a lot of cases, cancer does not cause pain, particularly if in the early stages. This means that it is never a good idea to use pain as an indicator of the presence of cancer. If you have other symptoms that you believe might be associated with the disease, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.

The Truth about Cancer Pain

According to MedBroadcast, between about 25% and 50% of people with cancer will have pain at the time of their diagnosis, but that number rises to 75% with cancer progression. 

Cancer pain is typically caused by the tumor as it presses on nerves, bones, or other organs, but sometimes the pain is the result of the treatments used to target the tumor.

As mentioned already, whether you have pain or not or how severe it is will typically depend on the type of cancer that you have and the stage it is at. It also depends on the type of treatment you are receiving for the disease and whether you have any other health conditions concurrent to cancer.

Cancer pain often feels like an aching pressure, but sometimes it can be a sharp stabbing pain. If pain is associated with cancer treatment, then it might feel like a burning sensation, or it could come with tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.

Some people will suffer with acute, short-term pain while for others the pain associated with their cancer is chronic, meaning it is continuous or comes and goes over a longer period of time. Cancer that invades bones or soft tissue often results in chronic pain, as can cancers that invade hollow organs such as the intestines. This is known as cancer pain syndrome, and it may also be caused by proteins or hormones produced by cancer that then go on to affect other organs and tissues. Occasionally, cancer pain syndrome occurs as a result of treatment for cancer.

How is Cancer Pain Treated?

Whatever the type of cancer pain though, it can usually be treated. How it is treated depends on its severity and whether it is acute or chronic. According to the experts at KindlyMD, a Utah-based medical cannabis pain clinic, there are various methods to help patients manage the pain associated with their cancer.

In many instances, pain medication can help to keep the severity of the pain under control. Nevertheless, sometimes patients will experience what is known as breakthrough pain. When this happens, there may be other therapies and treatments that can help with it.

Some patients find that therapies such as sound therapy, music therapy, and meditation help to lessen the severity of their pain when their medication is not working. Other times, patients might be advised to try nerve stimulation with a machine that performs what is known as transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS). Alternatively, anesthetic injections or specific drugs can work to block nerve pain.


Pain often accompanies cancer as well as the treatments used to target tumors. Cancer pain tends to be acute or chronic and depends on the stage the cancer is at and where in the body it is affecting. The good news is that cancer pain can often be treated with the use of medication and a variety of other therapies.