Cancer, by most common terminology is the uncontrollable division of cells in the human body. Under healthy circumstances, every normal cell in the body goes through a life cycle, however, when cancer develops the orderly process of the cell cycle is disrupted. Some cancers form solid tumors while some don’t. In most cases, the fundamental cause of a cancer is the primary disruption caused during the cell cycle, which leads to abnormal cell growth and associated cancer pain.
About Cancer Pain
Generally speaking, not everyone experiences cancer pain, and usually the pain is associated with the treatment of the cancer itself. For example, chemotherapy drugs can cause a burning sensation at the site of injection and radiation therapy may cause irritation or redness of skin.
More often, pain experienced in patients with cancer varies on a wide spectrum – dull, constant, mild, moderate, sharp or severe. In addition, cancer pain progresses through various stages as the tumor grows and begins to place pressure on nerves, organs and bones.
Does Cancer Pain Hurt?
Cancer pain may hurt depending on several intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The amount of pain a patient suffering from cancer may experience depends on the following factors:
- Location of the cancer
- Type of cancer
- Stage of cancer
- Damage caused by the cancer
However, the longevity of the cancer pain may be a direct result of the type of pain the cancer is causing. Pain associated with cancer is specifically divided into two categories:
- Chronic Cancer Pain
- Acute Cancer Pain
Chronic cancer pain is generally experienced as a result of damage to the nerves. Frequently, chronic cancer pain correlates with the nerve changes associated to a particular cancer treatment. Cancer Pain may last long after the treatment, and the incidence of such cancer pain may vary from person to person.
On the other hand, acute cancer pain is a generally mild form of pain and may not last for a more than a few days or weeks. Acute cancer pain is in fact localised to the area of injury or treatment and consequently diminishes. However, if left untreated acute cancer pain may translate into chronic pain which as we discussed above can last for a much longer duration.
What Does Cancer Pain Feel Like?
Cancer pain depends on several factors including where the cancer is, the size of the cancer, and its effect on surrounding tissue or organs. Not all cancer pain is localised, many a times if the cancer spreads (metastasized), the symptoms may appear in different areas of the body. As discussed earlier, not all cancers show symptoms until they have grown large enough to impart or press against a nerve or organ. However, some cancers may triggers may trigger immediate pain if they are in a critical area such as the brain.
Understanding the symptoms of cancer is as important as knowing that a symptom doesn’t necessarily correlate to a cancer diagnosis. Usually, knowing the symptoms helps an individual take proactive action towards an early detection of cancer, if any.
How Long Does Cancer Pain Last?
Cancer pain duration is invariably different from person to person and other factors including nature of the cancer, the stage to which the cancer or tumor has progressed and the location of the cancer. Not all cancers have pain associated with them; however, the occurrence of any pain generally arises as the cancer spreads through the body affecting bones, tissue or nerves. As such, no definitive duration can be predicted for cancer pain due to the high degree of variability.
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