Prostate Cancer

Pain relief

Pain doesn't affect all men with prostate cancer but there are various ways in which pain may be controlled if it occurs. If cancer has spread to the bones, radiotherapy can be given to relieve the pain. Treatment is given to the affected bone or area. Between one and ten treatments are given to the sites of bone pain. Symptoms will usually improve four to six weeks after treatment, but men may notice some pain relief within a few days. Pain may also be controlled with the use of various drugs, but it sometimes takes a while to find the best dose. For bone pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) e.g. ibuprofen can help, but these can sometimes irritate the lining of the stomach. Bisphosphonates reduce pain if given to men with hormone-relapsed prostate cancer.  

Radioactive material (isotope) called Strontium 89 may also be used to control pain. The isotope is given as an injection into a vein in the arm, usually in the hospital outpatient department. When injected, Strontium is taken up by the affected bones, and gives pain relief. Specialist pain control is available in special pain clinics attached to hospitals and also in hospices.

Last reviewed July 2017.
Last updated March 2015.


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