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Cancer Pain - Cause

Cancer pain may be caused by the cancer or by the treatments and tests used. The kind of pain may vary depending on the cause. The first step in managing your pain is understanding what is causing it.

Pain from the cancer itself can happen when:

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  • A cancer growth, or tumor, presses on bones, nerves, or organs.
  • Cancer cells spread to the bone and destroy it.
  • A tumor presses on the spinal cord, causing pain in the back, legs, or neck.
  • A tumor causes organs to swell or be blocked. For example, a bowel obstruction can be caused by a tumor.

Because some cancer spreads far and fast, treatments have to be strong. As a result, they often cause pain and other side effects that require more treatment. Pressure on or damage to a nerve may cause tingling or burning. Treatments such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy may also cause pain.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 11, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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