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Neurological Complications of Brain Cancer

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NCI PDQ
See National Cancer Institute information on
Brain Tumor Treatment

Managing Pain

Pain can be one of the symptoms of a brain tumor. However, it can be managed effectively in most patients with cancer or with a history of cancer. Although cancer pain cannot always be relieved completely, therapy can reduce pain in most patients. Pain management improves the patient's quality of life throughout all stages of brain cancer.

The Pain and Palliative Care Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia serves the needs of our cancer patients who are dealing with pain. This can be from any type of brain tumor or other forms of cancer.

The neuro-oncology service at Fox Chase provides diagnostic support to assist in evaluating the causes of pain, including electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) testing. EMG is a test that measures a muscle's electrical activity. It looks at how muscle responds to signals from the nerves responsible for muscle movement (motor nerves). An EMG also may include a test of how fast the motor nerve conducts impulses, which is called an NCV test.

Nerve Block

Doctors at Fox Chase Cancer Center offer many pain relieving strategies. If these are not successful, a nerve block may be considered to control otherwise uncontrollable pain. A nerve block is the injection of either a local anesthetic or a drug that inactivates nerves. Nerve blocks can be used to:

  • Locate the source of pain
  • Treat painful conditions that respond to nerve blocks
  • Predict how the pain will respond to long-term treatments
  • Prevent pain following brain tumor treatment procedures

Surgery To Control Cancer Pain

Surgery can be performed to implant devices that deliver drugs or electrically stimulate the nerves. In rare cases, surgery may be done to destroy a nerve or nerves that are part of the pain pathway.

For more information about treatment for brain tumors and other neurological cancers as well as pain management at Fox Chase Cancer Center or to make an appointment, call 1-888-FOX CHASE (1-888-369-2427).