Colon Cancer Home > Colon Cancer Pain

For most people with colon cancer, pain can be relieved or reduced with medicines or alternative treatments (such as acupuncture). Other methods for relieving pain associated with this type of cancer include radiation therapy, surgery, and a nerve block. The pain may be caused by the tumor itself; it may also be a side effect of treatment.

An Overview of Colon Cancer Pain

Pain may be a problem for people with colon cancer. Whether you have pain -- and the amount of pain you have -- may depend on the stage (extent) of colon cancer, and your pain threshold (tolerance for pain).
For people with colon cancer, pain can be caused by a number of things, including:
  • A tumor that is pressing against nerves or bones or other organs near the colon
  • Colon cancer treatment
  • Things not related to the cancer, such as headaches or muscle pain.

Options for Reducing Pain Due to Colon Cancer

The patient's doctor or a specialist in pain control can relieve or reduce colon cancer pain in several ways, which include:
  • Certain types of medicine
  • Alternative treatments
  • Radiation
  • Surgery 
  • Nerve block.


For most people, medicine and alternative treatments are sufficient to reduce pain.

Medicines can often relieve colon cancer pain. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for advice before you take any medicine for pain. Medicines are safe when they are used properly.
You can buy some effective pain relievers without a prescription or doctor's order. These medicines are known as nonprescription or over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. For other medications, a prescription from your doctor is necessary.
Although these medicines may make people drowsy and constipated, resting and taking laxatives can help. While many people worry that they will become addicted to pain medicine, the fact is that such drug dependencies rarely develop.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend steroids and other "second-line" hormonal therapies to help with colon cancer pain.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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