Pain in cancer survivors
Brown MRD., Ramirez JD., Farquhar-Smith P.
Cancer and its treatment exert a heavy psychological and physical toll. Of the myriad symptoms which result, pain is common, encountered in between 30% and 60% of cancer survivors. Pain in cancer survivors is a major and growing problem, impeding the recovery and rehabilitation of patients who have beaten cancer and negatively impacting on cancer patients’ quality of life, work prospects and mental health. Persistent pain in cancer survivors remains challenging to treat successfully. Pain can arise both due to the underlying disease and the various treatments the patient has been subjected to. Chemotherapy causes painful chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), radiotherapy can produce late effect radiation toxicity and surgery may lead to the development of persistent post-surgical pain syndromes. This review explores a selection of the common causes of persistent pain in cancer survivors, detailing our current understanding of the pathophysiology and outlining both the clinical manifestations of individual pain states and the treatment options available.