53% of all patients with cancer have pain and up to 69% of patients with advanced cancer have pain.
Cancer pain can be difficult to treat. The World Health Organization recommends treating cancer pain with narcotic and non-narcotic medications, but up to 30% of patients have persistent pain despite optimal medical therapy. Blocking the pain signals via neurolysis, the destruction of nerves with heat or chemical, is an option for patients who have persistent cancer related pain despite optimal medical management.
Neurolysis is an image guided procedure where a specific nerve is purposefully treated to prevent it from sending pain signals. This procedure is very effective when added to medical therapy to treat cancer pain and can help patients reduce the amount of narcotic medicines they need to effectively treat their pain.
Many types of cancer pain can be treated with neurolysis. Common painful cancers of the abdomen such as pancreas, liver, biliary, pelvic, rectal and gynecological can be effectively treated with neurolysis.
Neurolysis is performed as an outpatient procedure with either local anesthesia or conscious sedation. Most patients will have some degree of immediate pain relief at the procedure and pain relief may persist for weeks or months.