Pain towards the end of life

Many people with pancreatic cancer worry about having pain towards the end of life. You may not get pain but if you do, there are ways to manage it.

There are ways to manage pain towards the end of life. Tell your doctor or nurse straight away if you have any new pain or your pain gets worse. The sooner you get treatment, the better the chance of getting the pain under control.

How is pain managed?

There are a variety of drugs to treat pancreatic cancer pain. These include:

Another option for a few people if painkillers are not controlling the pain well is a procedure called a nerve block. This blocks nerves from sending pain messages to the brain, and so treats pain. Whether this is suitable for you will depend on your own situation, and whether you are well enough to have the procedure.

There are also other things that can help you deal with pain, such as complementary therapies.

Read more about pancreatic cancer pain and how it’s managed

Managing pancreatic cancer pain

What is a syringe driver?

Your doctor or nurse may suggest a syringe driver (sometimes called a syringe pump) to provide your pain relief and other medication such as anti-sickness medication. A syringe driver is a small, battery-operated machine which is used if you can’t swallow tablets, or are being sick. It provides a steady flow of medication,which means that you get your medication continuously. It can be used at home as well as in hospital or a hospice.

A needle is inserted under the skin and attached to the machine using a thin tube. Your doctor or nurse will set it up and top up the medication – usually once a day.

Marie Curie has more information about syringe drivers.

Questions about pain?

If you have any questions about pain, speak to your doctor or nurse.

You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line.

Speak to our nurses
Specialist nurse Dianne

Published March 2018

Review date March 2020