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J Support Oncol. 2004 Nov-Dec;2(6):491-500, 503.

The evolving role of interventional pain management in oncology.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington 40536, USA.


Patients with cancer frequently experience chronic pain, especially in the terminal phases of illness. Fortunately, most patients (90%) can achieve good pain relief using standard and adjuvant analgesics. For those patients who experience severe pain resistant to traditional analgesic therapies, interventional pain management techniques often provide welcome pain relief. The use of neurolytic substances has been used for many decades but has found a niche in the treatment of pain related to abdominal and pelvic cancers. Simple, percutaneous injections of alcohol or phenol can provide much needed pain relief for patients with pancreatic, colon, or gynecologic cancers. The percutaneous placement of catheters for the chronic infusion of spinal analgesics can provide pain relief for virtually any part of the body. Internal or external infusion pumps can be well managed at home, improving quality of life. The physician treating the pain should be aware of these and other interventional pain management techniques to provide alternative therapies to patients with refractory cancer pain.

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