The human body is composed of trillions of cells. Each cell’s lifespan differs based on their location in the body. Normally cells grow and divide as the body needs them. Old or damaged cells die and new cells take their place. Cancer is a broad word related to many different diseases. In all types of cancer the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues. The cells that are old and damaged do not die, and new cells form when they are not needed. This cell division which becomes out of control can grow into a separate mass (a tumor). Cancers of the blood do not typically form tumors. Cancer becomes very severe when it spreads from where it originated to another part of the body. At this point, the cancer is called metastatic.
Common ways to treat cancer include surgery, radiation, or with chemotherapy medications. The medications used to treat cancer are strong. They work to kill the cancer cells or prevent cancer cell growth. There are many kinds of cancer medications and different timeframes for treatment. Treatment for cancer is based on the type of cancer and its severity. Depending on the goals of treatment, therapies can ease symptoms or cure the disease. In addition, managing the side effects of chemotherapy is part of a successful treatment plan.
Pain caused by cancer can come from different sources in the body (bones, organs, or nerves). It can be surface level or deep. The World Health Organization reports that in 85%-97% of all cancer cases, pain can be controlled. Effective pain management is dependent on a thoughtful treatment plan. This involves considering the source of pain and a regular, ongoing conversation to tweak therapies to what works and what does not work.