Having cancer does not always mean having pain. Pain is hardly ever a symptom of early cancer. Even people with advanced cancer do not always have pain.

If you do have pain, let your doctor know, even if it is mild.

Pain can have a big impact on your life, preventing you from doing the things you want to do. Controlling the pain allows you to return to many of the activities you enjoy.

Ways of managing cancer pain include:

  • Anticancer interventions: Radiotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, surgery and chemotherapy may be used for pain relief rather than as treatment for cancer.
  • Pain medications (analgesics): Analgesics do not affect the cause of the pain, but they can stop you from feeling it as much. Most pain medications are taken by mouth, usually as a tablet or capsule.
  • Other medications: Other drugs may be prescribed along with analgesics for particular kinds of pain.
  • Epidural medication, nerve blocks or neurosurgery: These may be used when pain is difficult to control.
  • Non-drug pain relief: Techniques such as relaxation, massage, acupuncture and distraction can help relieve pain without medication.