Skip to content

    Pain Management Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    7 Myths About Cancer Pain

    What you believe about cancer pain can hurt you. About one out of three people with cancer experience pain. For nine out of 10 of these people, pain can be relieved relatively simply. Yet many patients let their misconceptions about cancer pain prevent them from seeking help.

    Following are common cancer myths and the facts about cancer pain.

    Recommended Related to Pain Management

    Take the Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Chronic Pain?

    No doubt about it -- plenty of us are suffering from chronic pain. More than 50 million Americans have some form of this malady, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine. But having lots of company doesn’t make it any easier to bear. Chronic pain wears people down, causes fatigue and insomnia, and results in missed work and social isolation. What can you do if chronic pain is interfering with your life? Start by learning what you know -- and maybe don’t know -- about it with this true or...

    Read the Take the Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Chronic Pain? article > >

    Cancer Pain Myth No. 1: The doctor should know I have pain without my having to say so.

    Everyone responds to pain differently. Some people show many external signs. Others feel a lot of pain without showing what they feel inside. Don't make your doctor guess the level of your pain. Instead, tell your doctor as much as you can about your cancer pain:

    • Where it hurts
    • When it hurts
    • The type of pain
    • Its severity

    The more your doctor knows about your cancer pain, the more likely it is that your doctor can work with you to find a way to reduce it.

    Cancer Pain Myth No. 2: Cancer Pain is inevitable.

    Pain is not inevitable. Is it likely? Perhaps. An estimated one of every three people undergoing cancer treatment experience pain. Fifty percent to 80% of people with advanced cancer have moderate to severe pain.

    Cancer Pain Myth No. 3: There's nothing that can be done to relieve cancer pain.

    If pain does occur, your doctor can develop a plan to relieve it. First, your doctor will try to identify the source of the pain. Potential sources of cancer pain include these:

    • Advanced cancer that spreads to the bones
    • Tumors that press on the spinal cord or cause a bowel obstruction
    • Infection
    • Treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation

    From medication to procedures, your doctor has a range of options to help treat cancer pain.

    Work with your doctor to develop a pain management plan that works for you.

    Cancer Pain Myth No. 4: Complaining about pain is for wimps. Enduring pain builds character.

    Where does this idea come from? Lots of places. Age, ethnicity, cultural values, and previous experience with pain may lead you to develop this attitude. However, pain is more than an uncontrollable state you have to put up with. Enduring pain puts you at risk for a host of complications:

    If you seek treatment for cancer pain, you may find that your ability to perform daily activities and your quality of life may improve.

    Today on WebMD

    pain in brain and nerves
    Top causes and how to find relief.
    knee exercise
    8 exercises for less knee pain.
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
    chronic pain
    Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
     
    illustration of nerves in hand
    Slideshow
    lumbar spine
    Slideshow
     
    Woman opening window
    Slideshow
    Man holding handful of pills
    Video
     
    Woman shopping for vegetables
    Slideshow
    Sore feet with high heel shoes
    Slideshow
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Slideshow
    man with a migraine
    Slideshow