Cancer Pain Diagnosis and Treatment by Top Pain Specialists at Mercy

Mercy Breast Center

Patients seeking relief from cancer pain often choose the knowledge and experience of the doctors at The Center for Interventional Pain Medicine at Mercy in Baltimore. Our pain management physicians collaborate with breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer specialists to develop customized treatment plans for each individual patient.

About the Condition

Patients can experience cancer pain from the cancer itself or from the treatment received for cancer. There are many causes of cancer pain, but often cancer pain occurs when cancerous tumors grow putting pressure on nerves, bones or organs. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, may also be the source of cancer pain. 

Not all patients with cancer will experience pain; however, for those who do there are a number of treatment options.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

The symptoms of cancer pain can vary greatly from patient to patient in terms of length and severity. Typically, cancer pain can be described as dull aching, pressure, burning, or tingling. The type of pain often gives clues about the source of the pain. For example, pain caused by damage to nerves is usually described as burning or tingling, whereas pain affecting internal organs is often described as a sensation of pressure.

Pain management specialists work with your cancer physician to diagnose cancer pain. A full review of your medical history, a physical exam and an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be used to diagnose cancer pain.

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Treatment options for cancer pain vary and will depend on the symptoms. Whenever possible, pain is best relieved by treating the cancer itself. In other cases where cancer pain is more severe or is a side effect of cancer treatment, physical therapy may be used to treat cancer pain.

The doctors of The Center for Interventional Pain Medicine at Mercy also utilize a treatment known as selective nerve root block (SNRB).  Selective nerve root block is an injection that delivers medication into the space around spinal nerve roots. The goals are to determine the location of a specific spinal nerve root that is the suspected cause of the pain and, secondarily, to relieve back, leg or other pain caused by the irritated spinal nerves.