Neuroablative Surgical Treatments for Pain due to Cancer.
Farrell SM., Pereira EAC., Brown MRD., Green AL., Aziz TZ.
Cancer pain is common and challenging to manage - it is estimated that approximately 30% of cancer patients have pain that is not adequately controlled by analgesia. This paper discusses safe and effective neuroablative treatment options for refractory cancer pain. Current management of cancer pain predominantly focuses on the use of medications, resulting in a relative loss of knowledge of these surgical techniques and the erosion of the skills required to perform them. Here we review surgical methods of modulating various points of the neural axis with the aim to expand the knowledge base of those managing cancer pain. Integration of neuroablative approaches may lead to higher rates of pain relief, and the opportunity to dose reduce analgesic agents with potential deleterious side effects. With an ever increasing population of cancer patients, it is essential that neurosurgeons maintain or train in these techniques in tandem with the oncological multi-disciplinary team.