MyChart is not for medical emergencies. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.
If you need help with MyChart, call us at 1-844-442-4278
Pain affects about 50 percent of cancer patients, and we have a variety of treatments available to effectively manage your pain.
The first step is to tell your cancer care team at the University of Chicago Medicine about any pain you are experiencing. We are not only here to treat your cancer, but we also care about your quality of life. We want to help you manage all symptoms and side effects of cancer and cancer treatments.
Recognizing how important pain control is to our patients, we have palliative care physicians on our cancer team. These physicians are specialists in managing symptoms for individuals with cancer and other diseases. Research shows that palliative care not only improves quality of life but also extends survival for some patients.
Our palliative care physicians work side by side with our medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, psychiatrists and other cancer team members. We also consult with interventional pain medicine experts in UChicago Medicine’s Pain Medicine Clinic who are internationally respected for their work in helping cancer patients with difficult-to-treat pain.
Together, we work to ensure your pain is controlled so you can participate in activities that matter to them. This approach also helps ensure that pain management is coordinated. We work with you on an ongoing basis, both in the hospital and in an outpatient setting, to manage pain and other symptoms.
Pain can develop for various reasons when you have cancer. Sometimes it is caused by a tumor pressing against nerves, organs or bones. Other times, pain is related to cancer surgery, chemotherapy or other treatments. Pain unrelated to cancer may also become worse during cancer treatment. At the same time, there are different types of pain (for example, sharp and stabbing pain versus constant nagging aches), and people have varying pain susceptibility and tolerance.
Because cancer pain is complex, we begin by conducting a comprehensive assessment to understand the cause(s) of the pain, the severity, how the individual is affected and what matters to the patient. Based on this information, we develop an individualized pain treatment plan that best meets your needs and preferences.
Treatments vary and may include one or more of the following approaches to target different aspects of pain:
Our interventional pain specialists deploy a variety of treatments to relieve cancer pain, including:
Our interventional pain physicians can discuss a wide variety of other procedures that are available to patients suffering from cancer and non-cancer pain. It is common for patients to be treated for multiple conditions that evolve during or after cancer treatment. Once a patient visits UChicago Medicine’s Pain Medicine Clinic, they can continue seeing pain specialists even after acute treatment for cancer pain is no longer needed. Our physicians are specialized in treating a wide variety of pain conditions in a dynamic, comprehensive and definitive way.
As part of our Supportive Oncology services, our emotional health specialists can help patients learn how to control pain using holistic approaches, including mindfulness and relaxation. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help individuals develop pain coping skills.
If pain is being caused by a tumor(s), then the best way to relieve pain may be to directly treat the cancer via surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or other therapies.