Cancer and chronic pain

Cancer and chronic pain

Pain due to cancer and treatment with natural pain relief

Average to severe pain is present with 30-40% of cancer patients at time of the diagnosis, with 40-70% of the patients during treatment and with 70-90% during advanced and terminal stages of cancer. In more than half of these cases different types of pain are concerned go right here. Research indicates that 40-50% of pain due to cancer can be partly or entirely indicated as neuropathic pain. The natural pain reliever PEA appears to be a valuable asset for chronic pain and neuropathic pain, especially to add to a combination of pain relieving medicine, because there are no known interactions.


Cancer and pain

For cancer patients, pain is one of the most bothersome symptoms en causes a huge problem in patient care.

There is no unambiguous picture about the occurrence of pain among cancer patients. You can tell from the large variety of percentages that were recorded in different studies.

Cancer pains are caused by direct growth of the tumor or metastatic growth (70%) but also as a result from the treatment itself (20%) and additional illnesses (10%).

In practice we see an under-reporting of pain complaints due to insufficient knowledge and attention of caregivers as well as reluctance of patients to report pain.

The goal of the treatment is to bring the pain to a decent level with acceptable side effects. In practice this hardly ever happens. The well-known cancer pain ladder of the WHO is only partly utilizable.


The familiar cancer pain ladder of the WHO

The World Health Organization pain ladder came to life in 1986 to offer a worldwide reference for the treatment of pain among with cancer patients. The pain ladder suggests a step-by-step method of treating pain due to cancer.

The first step recommends the use of simple painkillers like paracetamol or acetylsalicylic acid, whether in combination with a steroidal anti-inflammatory agent (an NSAID) or not. The use of acetylsalicylic in this context is superannuated though, as this substance doesn’t add any additional value compared to paracetamol but does increase the chance of side effects (damage to the stomach, thrombocyte function).

The second step adds a mild working opioid (codeine or tramadol) and during the third step a strong opioid is added.

Concerning the use of non-opioids it’s worth noting the cannabinoids. This is possible through the cannabis plant, or since 2010 it is possible through a cannabinoid produced by our own body, palmitoylethanolamide (PEA).



In Italy, a lot of clinical experience has been obtained with PEA. Even in case of terminal cancer, when chance of improvement is absent, PEA can be added to the treatment, even when the patient is unable to swallow. On other pages of this website we give more information on this pain relieving supplement, which consists of a bodily fatty acid. PEA is 100% natural and is produced in our own body in case of chronic pain and inflammation, only in insufficient levels. It is now possible to solve this shortage by taking PEA as a supplement or a medical food.

Also, liposomal PEA is a new product that greatly improves bioavailability.

This video is a great example: