Cancer Pain

Cancer pain is in a completely different category then the general discussion of pain on this web site. Cancer pain is often due to the degenerative stress on certain organs, bones or other tissues. In the end stages of certain cancers the pain can be intolerable and medications are essential. Always make sure that you or your loved ones are getting the most intelligent and compassionate treatment available. Seek out medical professionals that display immediate concern and compassion.

Often the treatment procedures necessary for cancer also create terrible feelings of pain, nausea, fatigue and depression. These include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. There is mounting evidence that suggests that gentle touch and massage can help reduce these symptoms. There are a growing number of Massage Therapists who have been trained in how to work with people with cancer. The Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals and the American Massage Therapy Association have lists of Therapists around the country.


To care for a loved one who is currently under treatment for cancer the following guidelines should be considered.

- Be aware that someone undergoing treatment for cancer has a compromised immune system. So, THOROUGHLY wash your hands and avoid breathing on them. The last thing they need is a cold or flu bug.

- Always stay away from areas of recent surgery, radiation or any medical I-V’s ports or other devices.

- Always get the persons permission. Respect the persons right to choose whether they want to be touched or not. Sometimes a person may just be too sensitive or tired to tolerate much.

- Use gentle pressure in areas that can be safely massaged. Often the treatment for cancer lowers the hemoglobin causing bruising to easily occur.

- The hands and feet are excellent areas to massage and can be especially comforting.

- Be brief. Realize that a person undergoing any treatment for cancer can be easily exhausted.

- Avoid vigorous massage if there has been the removal or radiation of any lymph nodes. This person is at risk for lymphadema – a painful and irreversible condition.

- Do not use any lotions or oils unless supplied by the hospital or Doctor.

If you feel you can meet the above guidelines, then gentle touch can often relieve many of the symptoms, especially nausea and dull aching pain. If nothing else, simply holding the persons hand has remarkably soothing effects.

Finished with Cancer Pain, return to Types of Pain.