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Pain and pancreatic cancer

Pain and pancreatic cancer

What is pancreatic cancer pain? 

Many people with pancreatic cancer have pain at some point. There are medicines for pain, and asking for help early on will help you cope with it.

Pain is often a sign of damage to your body – it’s your body’s way of telling you that things aren’t right. Different people feel pain in different ways. This means that how you feel and cope with pain will be very personal to you.

There are different things that cause pancreatic cancer pain. These include the cancer itself, some treatments for the cancer, and some symptoms like problems eating.

Treatments for pain

People with pancreatic cancer may get different types of pain. Each type of pain may need different medicine.

Tell your doctor or nurse about any pain as soon as you can. The sooner you get treatment, the better the chance of getting the pain under control.

Treatments you might have for pancreatic cancer pain are:

Your doctor or nurse can tell you more about these treatments.

Some people find that other things help them deal with pain, such as complementary therapies. These are things which you might use at the same time as your cancer medicines and may help you feel better.

You can use this table to record your pain medicine.

Who can help me to deal with pain? 

Your GP and your doctor or nurse at the hospital can help with your pain. If you have a nurse caring for you at home, they can also help.

You may also see a palliative care team or supportive care team if your cancer can’t be cured. These teams are experts in treating symptoms, including pain. They can also help you cope with your feelings, and give practical support. They can help at any point in your treatment or care.

If you haven’t been told about palliative or supportive care, speak to you GP about this as they can refer you. Your GP can also help you arrange support and care at home.

Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have any worries. They can help explain why you have pain.

Where can I get information and help?

There is support to help you deal with pain. There are also things you can do yourself to take your mind off the pain. You could try doing your favourite hobby, or spending time with family and friends.

Getting help early on can help you feel more in control of your pain. Don’t try to cope alone. Speak to your doctors or nurses, or ask a family member or friend to speak to them for you.

You can also speak to our nurses on our free Support Line with any questions or worries you may have about your pain.

Download our booklet below to find out more about pain and pancreatic cancer. You can also order paper copies of our information on our order form.

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Questions to ask your doctor or nurse

You might want to write down any questions you have for your doctor, so that you don’t forget to ask them. You may also like to take someone with you when you see your doctor. They can write down the answers to any questions you have and any important information.

  • What is causing my pain?
  • What type of pain do I have?
  • How can I deal with my pain?
  • Who can help me cope with my pain?
  • Who should I contact for help at night or at the weekend?
  • What should I do if the pain doesn’t get better?
  • What can I do myself to help with pain?
  • Where can I get support to help me cope?

More information on pain and pancreatic cancer

Who can help you to deal with pain?

What causes pancreatic cancer pain?

Types of pancreatic cancer pain

Talking about pain

Painkillers for pancreatic cancer pain

Nerve blocks 

Other types of pain relief

Things you can do yourself to deal with pain

Updated February 2019

To be reviewed February 2021

Information Standard

Talk to a nurse on 0808 801 0707 or by email

Nurse On The Support Line

If you or someone you know has been affected by pancreatic cancer, our Support Line is here for you. The Support Line is open 10am - 4pm, Monday - Friday  

Our pancreatic cancer specialist nurses understand the issues you might be facing and can support you in coping with all aspects of pancreatic cancer. They can provide individual specialist information about pancreatic cancer, treatment options and information about managing symptoms and side effects. As a listening ear, they can also help with your concerns and provide support.