Guide to Controlling Cancer Pain

+ -Text Size


Research on pain control methods

Patient studies – called clinical trials – have helped doctors find better ways to treat cancer and lower cancer death rates in the United States. Clinical trials have also led to better pain control methods, such as continuous pain-medicine infusion pumps (patient-controlled analgesia or PCAs), which were first developed in the early 1980s.

In cancer research, a clinical trial is designed to show how a new cancer strategy – for instance, a promising drug, a new diagnostic test, or a possible way to better treat cancer – affects the people who receive it. These studies are the final step in the process of developing new drugs and finding better ways to fight diseases and their symptoms.

Clinical trials are being done to look for better ways to manage cancer pain. For more information about current research on pain control methods, contact the American Cancer Society or the National Cancer Institute.

The American Cancer Society offers a clinical trials matching service that can help you find a clinical trial that’s right for you. You can reach this service at 1-800-303-5691 or online at From the information you give about your cancer type, stage, and previous treatments, this service compiles a list of clinical trials that match your medical needs. The service will also ask where you live and whether you are willing to travel so that it can look for a treatment center you can get to.

You can also get a list of current clinical trials by calling the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service toll free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) or by visiting the NCI clinical trials website at

Last Medical Review: 06/10/2014
Last Revised: 06/10/2014