Management of Breakthrough Pain in Cancer Patients - Episode 6

Long-Term Management of Breakthrough Cancer Pain

Chronic pain can occur as a direct result of cancer and its treatment. In general, severe pain is most prevalent in patients with advanced cancer, with approximately 70% of patients listing pain as a primary concern. Some types of cancer are more painful than others, such as pancreatic cancer, multiple myeloma, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, Vitaly Gordin, MD, suggests.

Pain can be associated with a number of causes for patients with cancer, such as postchemotherapy neuropathy or postsurgerical pain, notes Marc Rappaport, DO. Even in patients cured of cancer, there can be lasting side effects that need to be managed. Despite the occurrence of addiction, postchemotherapy pain still needs to be treated, Rappaport notes.

It is important to realize that a patient does not need to have active cancer in order to experience cancer-related breakthrough pain, Charles E. Argoff, MD, points out. As a result, many of the approved therapies for breakthrough cancer pain do not require that patients currently have active cancer. It has been well establish that treatment with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery has lasting effects that require long-term care.