Not everyone with cancer experiences pain. Pain may be caused by cancer itself as it creates pressure on or invades the nerves, bones or organs. Some types of cancer treatments, including radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy can also cause discomfort or pain. Pain may be dull and achy, sharp or burning, or may even feel like an electric shock or, in the case of brain cancer, may cause headaches. Pain related to cancer itself is oten controlled by cancer treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and anti-inflammatory steroid medication. Pain from cancer and pain caused by treatment can also usually be effectively controlled by pain-relieving medications. If you have pain you should talk to your doctor about treatment.
Depending where and how the employee experiences pain, it may restrict their mobility and movement and curtail some work-related activities. Pain can also make you tired and feel more fatigue. Pain medications can be very effective, but they may also cause side effects, although most side-effects either lessen with time or can be controlled. Sleepiness, nausea and constipation are common side effects of pain medications such as opioids (like morphine), and all of these problems can also affect ability to work. Sleepiness may make it harder to concentrate at work and pose safety risks in operating machinery or driving. Steroids may cause sleeplessness and agitation. Ask your doctor what alternative pain medicines could be tried if you are having side-effects from your current treatment. Pain itself can also cause you to feel irritable and frustrated, especially if it persists for long time, and you will be able to function much better if you have effective pain management with appropriate medications.