What should you know about breast cancer pain?

Breast cancer usually does not cause pain, but it can. A tumor in the breast can create pain by pushing up against other breast tissue.

Breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is known as metastatic breast cancer. It is also called advanced breast cancer or Stage IV breast cancer. This form may trigger pain in the areas to which it has spread, such as bones, brain, lungs, or liver. An estimated 70 to 90 percent of people with metastatic cancer have chronic pain.

While some cancer pain is related to the disease, you might also find that some pain is related to treatment. Breast cancer treatments include chemotherapy, surgery, and/or radiation therapy. For many people being treated for breast cancer, pain from therapy is temporary. However, some degree of pain can be lasting and affect your ability to function and your quality of life.

There are different types of pain, including:

  • Chronic (long-lasting)
  • Acute (new, or sudden pain)
  • Breakthrough pain (pain that happens even though you are being treated)

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