There are 130 to 150 kinds of anticancer drugs that have been approved all over the world. Based on the development of the anticancer drug, 1300 to 1500 kinds of drug formulations are available now. Though unapproved, about 800 new anticancer drugs are under research, among which about 400 kinds belong to small molecules anticancer drugs. These new drugs, representing the highest level of current research on anticancer drugs, will be a new weapon against cancer in the next 20 to 50 years.
The anticancer drugs are divided into two categories according to their treatment characteristics: western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. Western medicine includes chemotherapy and bio-targeted drugs, while traditional Chinese medicine includes clinically used prescription drugs and Chinese patent medicines. Painkillers is necessarily included in the anticancer drugs, because cancer patients have varying degrees of symptoms in their middle and late stage. A survey showed that the incidence of pain in newly diagnosed cancer patients was 25% while the incidence of pain in advanced cancer patients rose to 60%-80%. It also unveiled that one third of the advanced patients suffered severe pains. The treatment of cancer pain should be operated with standard anti-tumor treatment. In general, non-invasive treatment is adopted in the first stage, using cancer drugs, physical therapy and psychotherapy. In the second stage, non-destructive invasive treatment such as nerve block and intrathecal drug infusion is preferred.