Pain and cancer treatment

Pain and cancer treatment

As parents, you know your child best. It is very important to tell your healthcare team if your child has pain. The healthcare team will work to find out what is causing your child's pain. They will work with you to make a plan to decrease the pain as much as possible.

Key points to remember about pain and cancer treatment

  • pain in children with cancer can be from many causes
  • as parents, you know your child best
  • it is very important to tell your healthcare team if your child has pain

This page is part of a whole section about childhood cancer.

What can cause pain in my child with cancer?

Pain in children with cancer can be from many causes. Cancer cells in the blood or solid tumours in the body can cause bone or tissue pain. Some side effects of cancer treatment, such as mouth or skin sores, can be painful. Recovering from some surgical procedures can also be painful.

How can I help my child with cancer to be more comfortable if they have pain?

As parents, you know your child best. It is very important to tell your healthcare team if your child has pain. The healthcare team will work to find out what is causing your child's pain. They will work with you to make a plan to decrease the pain as much as possible.

For more information, see the Pain management section on this website.

The healthcare team can give your child pain medicines in many different ways. There are also a variety of supportive comfort measures available to help your child. Different members of the healthcare team can support your child in ways that best meet your child's needs. They can help manage both the physical and emotional aspects of pain.

Which tool can help find out how much pain my child with cancer is having?

The use of a tool, such as a pain scale, may be helpful in monitoring how much pain your child is having. Ask your healthcare provider about which pain scale they recommend. The goal is to make your child as comfortable as possible.

How might pain medicines help my child with cancer?

The type and amount of pain medicine, and how your child has it, will depend on:

  • the type of pain your child has
  • your child's weight
  • whether or not your child can take medicine by mouth

Your child should not have any medicine containing aspirin or ibuprofen (Nurofen). These medicines can increase bleeding problems and irritate the lining of the stomach.

Don't use other medicines containing aspirin or ibuprofen throughout your child's treatment without first talking to your child's oncologist. Check all over-the-counter medicines with your child's doctor before giving them to your child for the first time. If the doctor is not available, contact the nurse specialist for further advice. You can use paracetamol (Panadol) for mild pain, if your child's temperature is normal. Make sure not to keep giving your child paracetamol - it will mask a true temperature.

All the pages in the Childhood cancer section of this website have been written by health professionals who work in the field of paediatric oncology. They have been reviewed by the members of the National Child Cancer Network (NZ). Medical information is authorised by the National Child Cancer Network.

 

This page last reviewed 05 June 2019.
Email us your feedback


On this page