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Heat and Cold Treatment for Cancer Pain

Overview

Heat and cold treatments can help with mild to moderate pain from cancer. Heat may relieve sore muscles. Cold may ease pain by numbing pain sensations. Try alternating heat and cold. After a heat or cold treatment, try some gentle massage for relaxation and pain relief.

Talk to your doctor before you try either heat or cold during chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Be careful when using heat or cold treatment:

  • Don't apply heat or cold to skin that may be red or tender from radiation treatment.
  • Don't apply heat to an area where the skin is broken or injured. Heat can increase bleeding.
  • Don't apply heat or cold packs directly to bare skin. Put a thin towel or pillowcase between the pack and your skin.
  • Don't use heat or cold in an area where you have poor blood flow.

Credits

Current as of: September 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Jimmy Ruiz MD - Hematology, Oncology

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