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06-03-2017 | Cancer pain | Article

New Cancer Pain Treatment Options

Current Pain and Headache Reports

Authors: Kenneth D. Candido, Teresa M. Kusper, Nebojsa Nick Knezevic

Publisher: Springer US


Purpose of Review

Cancer pain is often incapacitating and discouraging to patients; is demoralizing to family members and care takers; and is taxing and difficult to subdue for the pain specialists. The consequences of implementing suboptimal treatment are far-reaching; therefore, effective treatment methods are in a great demand. The face of cancer pain management has changed in considerable ways, and interventional procedures have become an integral part of providing multimodal analgesia in cancer pain treatment. The goals of this review are to draw attention to the critical role that regional anesthetic nerve blocks and interventional pain management techniques play in treating malignancy-related pain and emphasize the benefits provided by the aforementioned treatment strategies.

Recent Findings

A large proportion of cancer patients continues to struggle with an inadequately treated pain despite a strict adherence to the WHO analgesic step ladder. The previous pain treatment algorithm has been modified to include peripheral neural blockade, neuro-destructive techniques, neuromodulatory device use, and intrathecal drug delivery systems. The accumulated evidence highlights the opioid-sparing qualities and other benefits afforded by these modalities: decreasing medication-induced side effects, reducing economic burden of poor analgesia, and overall improvement in quality of life of the patients afflicted with a painful neoplastic disease.


The rising prevalence of cancer-related pain syndromes is paralleled by an unmatched growth of innovative treatment strategies. Modified WHO analgesic ladder represents one of the greatest paradigm shifts within the domain of oncologic pain treatment. The cancer patient population requires a prompt and liberal, albeit judicious, delivery of unorthodox pain treatment options freed from the rigid bonds of conventional guidelines and standard practices.

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