Treating pain caused by secondary bone cancer
Pain is the most common symptom of secondary bone cancer. There are different types of pain which may need different treatments.
Different types of painkiller are available to treat all levels of pain and these are usually very effective. They may be given alone or alongside radiotherapy. The medical staff will discuss your pain with you. It’s important to let them know if it’s not controlled.
Watch our video about the different things that can be done to control cancer pain if you have advanced cancer.
You may need to try a few different painkillers before you find one that is effective for you. Sometimes, you may need to take a combination of painkillers to get the right level of pain control. You may also need to take painkillers temporarily while having treatment for secondary bone cancer. For example, it may take 2-3 weeks for radiotherapy to relieve the pain caused by secondary bone cancer, so you’ll need to take painkillers during this time.
You may be prescribed other drugs, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or bisphosphonates to help relieve your pain. Or you may be given other treatments, such as cementoplasty.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, your doctor may prescribe a mild sleeping tablet for you. Other general ways of relaxing and helping to reduce your pain include:
- listening to relaxation CDs
- a long soak in a warm bath
- having a massage to an area of the body that isn’t painful, such as a head, hand or foot massage.
If your pain isn’t controlled at any time, it’s important to let your doctor or specialist palliative care nurse know as soon as possible. You can ask your doctor to refer you to a palliative care nurse. They are specialists in advising on pain and symptom control, and giving emotional support. They can visit you at home. You may find it helpful to read our sections on controlling cancer pain and controlling the symptoms of cancer .
Research is ongoing to find new drugs, different ways of giving drugs, and new techniques to control pain for people with secondary cancer in the bone.