Cancer pain

If you have cancer, you might have pain from the cancer itself, its treatment, or a tumor compressing a nearby nerve or organ. At the OHSU Comprehensive Pain Center, we treat all cancer-related pain.

Treatments available

  • Medication: We can work with your oncologist or primary care provider to help manage pain through medication by providing recommendations and guiding therapy.
  • Nerve blocks: This is a treatment that targets a specific nerve (or nerves) to assess whether it is causing your pain and potentially can treat the pain. Nerve blocks numb the nerve and can also decrease inflammation in the area if steroid is used. Pain relief usually lasts around one to three months, if steroid is used, but can be longer or shorter depending on the kind of pain you are experiencing and the type of medication injected.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: If a specific nerve is causing your pain, you may be a candidate for radiofrequency ablation of that nerve. Pain can be reduced by using heat to temporarily destroy a small area of the nerve so it does not send pain signals anymore.Pain relief usually lasts around six to eight months, but can be longer or shorter depending on the kind of pain you are experiencing.
  • Health psychology: Psychological treatments are an important part of pain management. Understanding and managing the thoughts, emotions and behaviors that accompany the discomfort can help you cope more effectively with your pain and can reduce the intensity of your pain. Pain psychologists focus on teaching you skills such as stress management strategies so you can engage in the activities which are most meaningful to you leading to an improved quality of life.
  • Intrathecal pumps: This is a way of administering medication directly to your central nervous system to help control pain and reduce side effects from some oral medications.
  • Rolfing and massage are excellent therapies to help with pain control.