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Intense Tumor Pain after Chemo - anyone else experience this?

Kristin BG

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Hi all. It's been several months since my one and only post. My husband has been experiencing debilitating tumor pain after he has a chemo infusion. He's on infusion #5 of Folfox, which is the "gold standard" chemo for colon cancer, which is technically what he has. BUT the beast of a tumor currently in his body is in his left lung, so much of the info I seek I find here. Plus, kudos to whoever designed this site! I find it much more user friendly than any of the colon cancer support sites. The original colon cancer was resected 5 years ago and we thought he was home free after years of surveillance. Then he started coughing and we discovered a 8+cm mass in his left lung. No cancer in his colon et al, so that's good. It kinda feels like we don't belong anywhere because the colon cancer sites deal with ostomies and stomas and all sorts of those things, which thankfully he doesn't have to deal with. But the drugs and treatment discussions found here don't apply to what he's doing either... so we are kinda homeless.

But I throw this question out to you all in case someone has also had wicked lung tumor pain associated with chemo. My poor husband sits and pants just to manage it. If he stays perfectly still, it is manageable. But the first cough, or if he needs to talk or get up and move... aw nellie.  He says it feels like a ripping or an icepick being slipped between his ribs with every inhalation. We conjecture that the chemo is causing the infiltrating roots of the mass to regress, which accounts for the ripping sensation. ????

Anyway - BAD pain. Like oxycodone every 4 hours barely makes it manageable. It lasts for 2 1/2 days after Chemo then it somewhat rapidly decreases. The oncologist can't say much about it. He shrugs his shoulders and puts it in the "big bag of cancer pain."

Anyone have a similar experience? If so, how do you manage it? Thanks!




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Welcome here.

I’m not much help I’m afraid. My first line therapy was 30 days of fractional general radiation with weekly infusions of Taxol and Carboplatin. I had a single, particularly large tumor about 4” long and 3/4” wide that completely filled the main stem bronchus of my right lung. First line treatment objective was to shrink this tumor to allow surgical resection of my lung. 

During the 2nd week of treatment, I started to notice discomfort that radiated across my chest in the proximate location of my tumor. My oncologist never heard of lung tumor pain but I believe I experienced it. Anyway, there was little he could suggest to minimize the discomfort.

I’m blessed with 19 years of survival but suffer chronic pain from my many treatments. I bring this up because I used oxycodone also and it was too “effective”. My doctor transitioned me to Tramadol and that works well enough to deal with pain spikes without putting me in a narcotic haze. 

I’m not much help I’m afraid. 

Stay the course. 


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