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Oral Oncol. 2010 Jun;46(6):448-51. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2010.02.017. Epub 2010 Mar 21.

Oral cancer pain.

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School of Medicine and Dentistry, Santiago de Compostela University, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Pain may be the initial symptom in oral cancer, and is a common complaint both in patients awaiting treatment and in those already in treatment. However, little has been published in the literature on the management of oral cancer pain. Effective pain control requires a multimodal approach in which pharmacological management based on the World Health Organization (WHO) analgesic ladder continues to play an essential role. Although different routes are available for the administration of analgesics, oral delivery continues to be the principal route for pain control in the first instance. Interventional approaches include blockade of a peripheral nerve or of the relevant ganglion, and the use of central neuraxial blockade. The intraventricular or intrathecal administration of opioids, with or without local anaesthetics, has been indicated for severe intractable pain. The development of new treatment modalities provides additional options, though further clinical research is required. There is no evidence of the efficacy of non-pharmacological methods such as acupuncture or transcutaneous nerve stimulation in the management of oral cancer pain. Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy have also been suggested, but their results have not been quantified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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