Not everyone with cancer experiences cancer pain, but over half will experience high levels of pain during their course of disease and treatment. If you have advanced cancer — cancer that has spread or recurred — your chance of experiencing cancer pain is even higher. In the United States alone, millions of people suffer from cancer pain. The World Health Organization reports that 85 – 97% of all cancer pain cases can be controlled.
Cancer pain can result from the cancer itself, cancer treatments (radiation and/or chemotherapy) or can result from the cancer growing into or destroying nearby tissue. Tumors may put pressure on nerves, bones or organs, causing pain. In addition, cancer pain may not just be from the physical effect of the cancer on a region of the body, but also due to chemicals that the cancer may secrete in the region of the tumor.