Lung Cancer Pain

There are many reasons why pain may occur in someone with lung cancer. For example, it could result from the tumor pressing against nerves, bones, or other parts of the body. Pain may also be a side effect of treatment for the disease. In most cases, the pain can be relieved or reduced using pain medication, alternative treatments (such as massage therapy), or both.

Lung Cancer Pain: An Introduction

People with lung cancer may experience pain as a result of their illness. Whether you have pain -- and, if so, the amount of pain you experience -- will depend on the type of lung cancer, the stage (extent) of the disease, and your pain threshold (tolerance for pain).
The pain of lung cancer can be caused by a number of things, including:
  • A tumor that is pressing against nerves or bones or other organs near the lung
  • Lung cancer treatment
  • Things not related to the cancer, such as headaches or muscle pain.

Options for Reducing Pain From Lung Cancer

The patient's doctor or a specialist in pain control can relieve or reduce lung cancer pain in several ways, which include:
  • Pain medicine
  • Alternative treatments
  • Radiation
  • Nerve block.


In most cases, medicine and alternative treatments are effective in reducing pain.

Pain Medicine
Medicines can often relieve pain associated with lung cancer. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for advice before you take any medicine for pain. Medicines are safe when they are used properly.
Some effective pain relievers are available without a prescription or doctor's order. These medicines are called nonprescription or over-the-counter pain relievers. For other medications, a prescription from your doctor is necessary.
Although these medicines may make people drowsy and constipated, resting and taking laxatives can help. Also, many people worry that they will become addicted to pain medicine; however, this rarely happens.
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