Pain management in head and neck cancer

Cymon Kersch, Ryan Li, Ravi A. Chandra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Acute pain is experienced by up to 80% of patients with head and neck cancer (HNC), with chronic pain in up to 60%. Pain is a source of significant discomfort in this patient population and reduces the overall quality of life with its associated psychosocial stress. Pain in HNC can be due to the malignancy itself or to sequalae of the anticancer therapies that most commonly include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. Multiple pain syndromes in the acute and chronic settings have been established for which pain-alleviating therapies are being actively studied. Herein, we review the common pain patterns experienced in HNC, their neurobiological mechanisms, opioid, and nonopioid treatment options, and updates on treatments for specific HNC-associated pain syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOpioid Use, Overuse, and Abuse in Otolaryngology
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780323790161
ISBN (Print)9780323790178
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Analgesic
  • Nonopioid
  • Oncology
  • Opioid
  • Pain control
  • Pain management
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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