The most common bone cancer pain occurs from tumours that metastasize to the bone. Over 60 per cent of bone cancer patients experience severe pain, because of bone metastasis and the growth of cancerous cells in the bones. According to the American Cancer Society,” Bone cancer pain occurs as a result of the pressure on the nerves and organs near the bone tumour site”. Although it is quite difficult to completely cure bone cancer pain, there are some effective options to reduce the severity and frequency of the pain.
Bone cancer pain is classified into acute and chronic pain. The main cause of acute pain is tissue damage and lasts for a limited duration, whereas chronic pain is persistent and lasts for longer periods. Bone cancer pain can often result from the bone cancer treatments but it varies from one patient to another. The level of pain depends upon the location and stage of the bone cancer. Moreover, the patient's age, his pain threshold and the overall strength of the immune system are other factors that determine the level of bone cancer pain. Fortunately there are a wide variety of therapeutic approaches, including common drugs, therapies and medications are available to cure bone cancer pain. Some effective methods to cure bone cancer pain are:
- Pain Medications: Pain medications - ranging from aspirin to opioids - are very effective in easing bone cancer pain, according to American Cancer Society. Although these medications may cause unpleasant side effects like constipation, tiredness and dizziness, they relieve bone cancer pain temporarily.
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs help to cure bone cancer pain by reducing inflammation or swelling. It also aids in ceasing the bone breakdown that is usually caused by the bone cancer.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy can also be used to cure bone cancer pain. This treatment often works well as it shrinks the tumour thereby causing the bone cancer pain to subside. Radiotherapy also helps the bones to heal and strengthen.
- Surgery: Surgical removal of the tumour can also cure bone cancer pain. Advanced cases in which the bone cancer cannot be treated surgically, a partial removal of the tumour may reduce the pain to some extent.
- Bisphosphonates: Cancer cells that spread to the bone secrete a substance called osteoclasts. This substance is quite dangerous as it dissolves a portion of the bone. In such cases, bisphosphonates, such as pamidronate and zoledronate, are used to cure bone cancer pain. They also help in preventing bone destruction and fractures.
- Anticonvulsants: This medication helps to increase your threshold for bone cancer pain. For better results, anticonvulsants are prescribed with other medicines and these help to ease the impact of pain considerably.
- Radiofrequency (RF) Ablation: According to Mayo Clinic, the main purpose of radiofrequency ablation is to cure bone cancer pain rather than the disease. Patients who are subjected to radiofrequency ablation can experience a significant decrease in bone cancer pain during their follow up period.
Apart from the above treatments, the most important factor that relieves bone cancer pain is emotional support and counselling. Behavioural techniques such as stress management, breathing and relaxation exercises can also help to cure bone cancer pain.