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NEWS ITEMS - News-2014

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Cancer pain: not always neuropathic of origin

Pain is an underestimated consequence of cancer or cancer treatment. Once present, pain is often very debilitating for cancer patients and cancer survivors. If the cancer itself does not cause tissue damage that triggers nociception, then the (often aggressive) cancer treatment probably will. Cancer surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy often implies damage to (peripheral) nerves, making the diagnosis of neuropathic pain logic.


However, neuropathic pain appears to be only a part of the entire picture. More and more work suggests that neuropathic pain is not the only type of pain present in patients suffering from cancer. A very recent study from the Universität Mainz (Germany) suggests that chemotherapy-induced pain is not limited to neuropathic pain, but can have a musculoskeletal component as well. Christian Geber (geber@uni-mainz.de) and colleagues correctly point to the need for examining the musculoskeletal system in these patients, and if clinically relevant musculoskeletal sources of ongoing pain are identified, they require manual physiotherapy.


Thus, this study paints to the possibility of neuropathic and nociceptive (i.e. musculoskeletal) pain in patients following chemotherapy. It makes us wonder whether central sensitization pain might be present in some cancer patients?
Reference and further reading: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23999056


Jo Nijs


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