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Side Effect: Stomach Pain

What is Stomach Pain?

Stomach pain, also known as abdominal pain, is a common symptom that occurs in patients with cancer.

What does Stomach Pain feel like?

Stomach pain can feel like discomfort anywhere in the belly region or the areas surrounding it. The pain can be dull, sharp, crampy, or throbbing. Stomach pain can be accompanied by other symptoms such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, fever, or weight loss.

Who gets Stomach Pain?

There are many causes of stomach pain, and anybody can get it, including those without cancer. It can occur spontaneously or from a trigger including certain types of food, gas production in the intestines, or from constipation.

Patients who have underlying conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, an infection if the gastrointestinal trat, or cancer commonly feel stomach pain as well.

In patients with cancer, this can be from a tumor in the stomach area, from medicine used to treat the cancer, or from other medicines that irritate the stomach lining and cause ulcers, such as corticiosteroids (e.g. dexamethasone or prednisone), or anti-inflammatory medications (e.g. ibruprofen, naproxen, aspirin). The risk of stomach ulcers from certain medications may increase if those medicines are routinely taken on an empty stomach without food.

To minimize the risk of stomach pain caused by pills, talk to you pharmacist or doctor to find out which medications are best taken with food, and which should be taken on an empty stomach.

How to prevent Stomach Pain

Preventing stomach pain depends upon the cause. Some tips include:

How to treat Stomach Pain

Treatment of stomach pain in patients with cancer also depends on the cause. Once the cause is determined, the treatment can focus on the source of pain. Below are suggestions for some of the most common reasons for stomach pain in patients with cancer:

It is important to work with your healthcare providers to determine the most appropriate plan.


1. Mercadante M, Adile C, Masedu F, et al. Breakthrough cancer pain in patients with abdominal visceral cancer pain. J of Pain and Symptom Management. 2019;57(5):966-970.

Created: March 27, 2024 Updated: March 27, 2024