Many people with breast cancer experience some level of pain — from mild to severe, from short episodes to longer-lasting pain — because of the cancer itself, and/or as a result of treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and other anti-cancer medications. Pain caused by the cancer itself is more common when the breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones. Pain or discomfort caused by treatments for breast cancer can affect anyone, though, regardless of the stage of their disease.
You should know that treatment for pain is part of cancer treatment. It is important to resist the still-too-common assumption that because cancer is a serious disease, some level of pain is to be expected. You and your medical team should have a plan in place for treating any pain you may experience before, during, or after your treatment for breast cancer. Most people can get complete relief for their pain — or at least significant relief that allows them to enjoy the activities of daily life. It may take some time to find the right combination and types of pain treatment that work best for you, but the effort will be worth it.
In this section of Breastcancer.org, you can learn more about the types of pain you might experience, their possible causes, and ways to relieve pain. You’ll also gain some practical advice about keeping track of your pain, talking with your doctors, and managing its effects on your mind as well as your body. Remember: No one should have to live with pain, and you do not have to accept pain as part of your experience with breast cancer.