Is it common for patients with cancer to have more than one painful site?
Yes, several large studies indicate that more than a quarter of patients with cancer report pain in more than one site. For example, a patient with lung cancer may experience chest wall pain (costochondritis) from the effort of breathing or coughing, and also have significant back pain from vertebral metastasis. As already noted, effects of surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy can cause additional pain; many patients with cancer have preexisting pain from degenerative arthritis, painful diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, migraine, or other chronic nonmalignant painful conditions. Patients with cancer also have evolving pain with tumor progression. Thus careful ongoing evaluation of all potential and changing sources of pain is needed.