Center for Pain Medicine

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Cancer-related Pain Services

Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Pain Medicine offers advanced pain management therapies for patients experiencing moderate to severe levels of cancer-related pain.

Cancer-related pain

Our experts work collaboratively to develop specialized treatment plans for patients with complex, cancer-related pain. Pictured (left-right): Marni Hillinger, MD, pain fellow, and Shihab Ahmed, MBBS.

Advanced Therapies in Treating Complex Pain

Pain control is an integral part of a patient’s care. Improved pain relief helps a patient follow his or her treatment plan more successfully. At the Center for Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, we offer a range of therapies to treat pain at all levels and specialize in advanced techniques to treat complex, cancer-related pain. Our therapies include:

  • Spinal drug delivery
  • Cryoablation, a procedure that applies extremely cold fluids (cryo) to diseased tissue in order to destroy that tissue
  • Nerve blocks, procedures in which nerves surrounding the pain area are numbed with medication in order to interrupt pain signals

We also offer image-guided advanced interventional pain management techniques. By using imaging technology, our specialists can identify target areas and deliver pain relief more effectively to patients.

Spinal Drug Delivery

Spinal drug delivery (SDD) is a therapy used by physicians in the Mass General Center for Pain Medicine to relieve pain by delivering medication continuously to the spinal cord through a small implanted pump. SDD may be an ideal option for many advanced cancer patients as pain relief can be achieved with a fraction of the oral medication dose, which may result in fewer or reduced side effects such as drowsiness and decreased mental clarity. Our physicians have provided SDD for more than a decade. This advanced interventional therapy is an option for pain that is not easily treated.

We work closely with referring physicians to select appropriate candidates for SDD therapy. The process begins with an initial consultation (outpatient or inpatient). Patients may undergo a trial with the placement of a temporary catheter under the skin for several days. Based on the results of the trial, the patient and his/her care team will determine whether to continue with the therapy.
Collaborative Approach to Patient-centered Care

Our care team comprises board-certified doctors who have received specialty training in pain medicine, fellows who are undergoing specialty training, psychologists and psychiatrists. We work with the Mass General Cancer Center and the Mass General Palliative Care team to provide comprehensive, coordinated patient care. This collaboration brings together clinicians from multiple disciplines to provide expert assessment on patients’ conditions and recommend advanced therapies for patients with complex needs. We are guided by our philosophy to improve quality of life for our patients and aid them with their medical decision making.

Leading Research in Pain Management

Physicians in the Mass General Center for Pain Medicine are defining the field of pain medicine. Our doctors conduct well-known innovative research on methods to improve pain management, serve in leadership positions at relevant medical societies, speak at national and international conferences, publish frequently and teach courses on trends in pain medicine.

Patients may have the opportunity to participate in a clinical research study. If you are interested in participating in a study, your doctor can help determine whether you qualify, and will provide you with detailed information to review.

Referring a Patient

In order to schedule an appointment, patients must have a referral from their oncologist. To refer a patient to our center, please complete a new patient referral form (PDF) and fax it to 617-726-3441. Once we receive your referral request, our patient care coordinator will set up an appointment with your patient within 24 hours . We are committed seeing patients to accommodating any urgent visit requests. We provide services in Boston and in Waltham. Visit our Waltham site

Preparing for Your Appointment

During your consultation, your care team will conduct a physical examination and review your medical history. Please complete the new patient questionnaire (PDF) before your visit. If you are a new patient, we ask that you bring a list of the medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take, along with information on dosages.  Additionally, please bring any medical records, CDs of images, consultation notes, and notes on previous treatments and their effectiveness. We use this information at the time of your first visit to get a complete picture of you and your overall condition in order to develop an appropriate pain management plan.

Mass General Difference

Mass General is consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Our ranking is based on our quality of care, patient safety and reputation in more than 16 different specialties. Our commitment to excellence means that we work to ensure that you receive the best care at all points during your visit.

As an academic center, Mass General invests in research to understand disease and develop new approaches in treatment. Our doctors are leaders within their respective fields and collaborate with colleagues in various departments across the hospital. As a patient, you benefit from shared expertise, leading research, and our commitment to quality and excellence.

Center for Pain Medicine

Wang Ambulatory Care Center
Suite 340
15 Parkman Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726-8810
Fax: 617-726-3441

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

We are also located at:

Mass General West
Center for Pain Medicine
Specialty Suite, Third Floor
40 Second Avenue
Waltham, MA 02451
Phone: 617-726-8810
Fax: 617-726-3441

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