Unfortunately, prostate cancer can result in pain. What treatments are there for prostate cancer pain? What can be done to alleviate the pain associated with prostate cancer?
- Pain Medication
There are a wide range of pain medications that can be prescribed for pain related to prostate cancer. Medications ranging from aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen to opioids such as morphine can be used to relieve pain, including bone pain.
Many types of steroids can be used to reduce inflammation and dampen the body's painful reaction to the presence of prostate cancer in the bones.
Bisphosphonates (such as alendronate reduce bone pain, strengthen the bones, and possibly help to prevent fractures. They are often prescribed to people who have osteoporosis and are also used to lessen bone pain from cancer.
Rare, but very serious side effects including jaw osteonecrosis (death of the jaw bone) can result from bisphosphonate use, so careful consideration of these side effects is essential before choosing this option.
- Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy can sometimes be used to treat pain that is focal (confined to a certain area). For example, pain in the bones of the pelvis due to prostate cancer can often be treated with focal radiation.
Additionally, radiation therapy can work to shrink the prostate cancer tumor itself, which may also relieve pain.
Radiopharmaceuticals are medications that make use of radioactive elements to treat bone pain. Certain radiopharmaceuticals are specially designed to collect predominantly in the bones after being injected into the body. Once in the bones, the radiation emitted from the radiopharmaceutical works to kill cancer cells and relieve pain. It's not uncommon for bone marrow failure to occur in response to this treatment.
Alternative Medicine for Prostate Cancer Pain
While not as thoroughly studied, alternative medicine treatments such as acupuncture and herbal therapies have also been shown to help some people deal with pain.