Metastatic Or Advanced Lung Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, more than one-half of lung cancer diagnoses are made at the advanced stage when cancer has spread, or metastasized, beyond the lung.
This is called metastatic or advanced lung cancer, classified as stage 4. At this point the cancer may have spread to:
- both lungs
- the lymph nodes on both sides
- the area around the lungs
- distant organs and parts of the body
Metastatic lung cancer can, in rare cases, also damage your muscles. You may experience intense shoulder pain with metastatic lung cancer. However, shoulder pain is not a common symptom at this point.
If shoulder pain does occur, it can be a signal that lung cancer has spread and damaged your muscles as well.
Environmental Pollution Can Also Lead To Lung Cancer
One of the deadliest causes of this form of cancer is exposure to air pollution. A recent report has claimed that lung cancer is increasing rapidly among Indian women between the age group of – 45 to 55 due to environmental pollution. Wear a mask and keep your lungs toxins free using the steam technique.
What Does Lung Cancer Shoulder Pain Feel Like
Shoulder pain from lung cancer is quite similar to other forms of shoulder pain. Because of this, it might be difficult to determine the cause of your shoulder pain.
If youve recently fallen or injured your shoulder in some way, lung cancer is unlikely to be the cause of your shoulder pain. There are many reasons for shoulder pain that arent lung cancer.
Lung cancer is more likely to be the cause of your pain if youre a smoker and your pain:
- occurs during rest
- isnt associated with any strenuous activity involving the shoulder
- happens at night
- doesnt resolve itself after a few weeks
Your shoulder pain is also more likely to be a symptom of lung cancer if you have other lung cancer symptoms as well. These might include:
- shortness of breath, often mild and with activity
- a persistent cough
- losing weight without a reason
People who have shoulder pain from lung cancer often describe it as a radiating pain from the shoulder down their arms to their hands. There may also be numbness or tingling. At other times, it can feel like a deep ache.
Lung cancer frequently causes chest pain as well. Sometimes, this chest pain is a result of bouts of coughing.
In other cases, the pain of lung cancer is a result of a large tumor pressing on other structures or growing into the chest wall and ribs.
Tumors in the lungs can also press on blood vessels and lymph nodes. That causes a buildup of fluid in the lining of the lung, and it can cause pain or shortness of breath.
- minor injury
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Shortness Of Breath/exercise Intolerance
The second most common symptom of lung cancer in women is shortness of breath. During the early stages of the disease, the shortness of breath is not always obvious and can easily be dismissed as due to something else or overlooked altogether.
Early on, symptoms occur primarily with activity and may be noted only with more strenuous activity, such as walking up and down stairs or sprinting. Some people may look back at the time of diagnosis and realize that they had been modifying their activity level to adapt to the shortness of breath for some time.
When To Get Medical Care
There is often a big delay between when a person starts having symptoms and when they get diagnosed with lung cancer.
If you have risk factors for lung cancer, knowing the signs and symptoms is important. Tell your healthcare provider about them right away if they pop up.
If you have symptoms but have never smoked before, you might not think you’re at risk for lung cancer. However, lung cancer in never-smokers is the 7th-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
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Whats The Outlook For People With Back Pain And Cancer
Less than 10 percent of spinal tumors actually start in the spine, according to the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Even if a spinal tumor is present and causing lower back pain, the tumor isnt always cancerous.
If the lower back pain is related to metastatic cancer, its important to talk to your doctor about your treatment outlook. When cancers start to spread, this may indicate a poorer prognosis.
Whats Causing Lung Pain In Your Back
There are several reasons you may be feeling pain in and around the back of your lungs.
However, your lungs have very few pain receptors, and people often refer to more general chest pains as lung pains.
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What Is Back Pain
Symptoms of back pain linked to lung cancer may overlap with those of back pain that is caused by other conditions, such as ruptured disc, arthritis, and osteoporosis. If the cancer has metastasized to the spine, symptoms can mimic those of an upper back injury.
However, back pain caused by lung cancer also has distinct differences. These may relate to how and where the cancer causes pain, both directly and indirectly. Lung cancer-related back pain may feel dull like a muscle ache, or it may seem sharp like a pinched nerve.
Red flags that suggest back pain may be due to lung cancer include:
- Back pain that is present at rest
- Back pain that is worse at night
- Back pain that happens without any activity
- Back pain that worsens the longer you lie in bed
- Back pain that gets worse when you take a deep breath
- Back pain that doesn’t respond to physical therapy or other treatment
The back pain may come with other telltale lung cancer signs like a cough that won’t go away or shortness of breath. Unintentional weight loss, chronic fatigue, or coughing up blood may further suggest lung cancer.
A condition called malignant spinal cord compression may develop in some people who have lung cancer that spreads to the spine. These symptoms include worsening back pain, weakness in the legs, and sometimes loss of urinary or bowel control. This is a medical emergency, and immediate treatment is needed to prevent complications such as paralysis.
Explanation Of Incorrect Answers
Bone metastasis occurs in about 30% to 40% of all nonsmall cell lung cancer patients . Common complications from bone metastasis include bone pain, pathologic fractures, spinal cord compression, and malignant hypercalcemia. Impending spinal cord compression and vertebral fractures require urgent treatment with local-field external-beam radiotherapy. Percutaneous vertebroplasty should be considered to improve the patients quality of life . Ms. P.s symptom of lower back pain could reflect possible bone metastasis, but given the lesion at L2 as well as seeding of the cauda equina with no bony lesions present on the MRI of her spine, this is unlikely.
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Diagnosing Cancer And Back Pain
A doctor will consider your symptoms and medical history when diagnosing potential lower back pain causes. Its important to include if you have a history of cancer or a family history of cancer.
Because cancer is a rare cause of lower back pain in those who dont already have cancer, a doctor may recommend other treatments before doing a full cancer work-up.
However, if pain persists after physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medications, a doctor may order imaging studies and blood testing. These tests can help identify if there are potential cancer markers that are causing the lower back pain.
Types Of Lung Cancer In Women And Men
The types of lung cancer differ among women and men as well:
- Women tend to develop NSCLC more than men.
- Women are more likely to be diagnosed with adenocarcinoma than men .
- Female nonsmokers are more likely than male nonsmokers to be diagnosed with the subtype bronchioalveolar carcinoma.
- Women who have lung cancer are more likely to live longer than men.
- Women who undergo surgery for some lung cancers, including NSCLC, also live longer than men. Women have a better response to chemotherapy treatments for lung cancer than men do.
- Men are more likely to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma than women.
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‘my Back Pain Turned Out To Be Lung Cancer’
Samantha Mixon wants to raise awareness about the number one cancer killer of women.
Samantha Mixon was 33 in March 2012 when she began having headaches. Her doctor diagnosed them as migraines and prescribed pain pills. When she temporarily lost her vision twiceshe had no depth perception and saw swirly colorsER doctors at the hospital told her that her migraines were probably related to a sinus infection.
“They told me to take Mucinex. I could blow my nose 100 times it wasnt draining. Nothing was working,” says Samantha, a mother in St. Simons Island, Georgia. “I even got a nebulizer, because I felt like there was something in my chest.”
Five months later, in August 2012, the soreness in her back started. She thought shed pulled a muscle, and her doctor gave her muscle relaxants to help with the pain. None of the pills helped.
Back Pain And Lung Cancer: What’s The Connection
When lung cancer spreads to the spine, it creates pressure on the backbone and spinal cord, causing pain in the neck or back. Your back or neck may feel numb, weak, or stiff. The pain may spread to the arms, buttocks, or legs. In addition, cord compression may also lead to sudden weakness of a limb.
However, not every back pain indicates lung cancer. Any kind of spine injury or inflammation can cause back pain too. But if your back pain last for more than three weeks, consult a doctor. If the pain occurs even without any activity, and worsens while lying on bed, taking a deep breath or at night, it points towards lung cancer.
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Can Back Pain Be A Symptom Of Lung Cancer
When you have back pain, many thoughts may come to your mind as to the cause, including a strain, arthritis, bone fracture, or degenerative disc disease. Sometimes, however, pain in your back can indicate an internal problem, such as lung cancer. Although the orthopedists at Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey cant diagnose and treat lung cancer, they can determine if the cause of your back pain isnt related to your musculoskeletal system.
Is Back Pain A Symptom Of Lung Cancer
Back pain can sometimes be a symptom of lung cancer. In fact, it may be one of the first symptoms of the disease. Bone pain in general is an initial symptom of lung cancer 6% to 25% percent of the time, with the spine being the most common site.
Causes of back pain in lung cancer include:
- A tumor that is placing direct pressure on the structure of the back, most often in the mid to upper back rather than lower back.
- A tumor that is irritating the nerves that serve the lining of the lungs and chest wall. This may trigger a sharp and sometimes chronic nerve pain.
Back pain related to a spinal fracture may also make your healthcare provider consider lung cancer. With metastatic lung cancer, the cancer spreads to bones in around 40% of people. The most common sites of spread are the spine and the large bones of the legs.
Cancer that invades the vertebrae of the spine may result in brittle, weak bones, and compression fractures. These breaks that occur in a bone weakened by cancer are referred to as pathologic fractures.
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Treatments And Management Of Back Pain
There are many effective ways to treat back pain in people with lung cancer. The choice of treatment depends largely on the underlying cause. If the pain is caused by pressure from a tumor, treatments may include:
- Radiation therapy
If cancer has spread to the bone, combining radiation therapy with drugs called bisphosphonates, often used to treat osteoporosis, may help. The drug denosumab usually provides significant pain relief and reduces the risk of fractures in affected bone as well.
Where Does Lung Cancer Cause Pain
The mortality rate of lung cancer is high since it is often caught lately, when it is less likely to respond the treatment. Sometime it can be painful, too. Since it originally grows in the lung, pain in the chest is the common symptom. It may also cause pain in other parts of the body, especially when it has become advanced!
Understanding cancer pain in general
Cancer pain is common, though not patients with cancer experience this discomfort symptom. Some types of cancer can be more painful.
Even though if the cancer doesnt directly cause pain, the discomfort may come from the treatment! About 1 out of 3 patients undergoing treatment for cancer experience pain and other discomfort symptoms.
The chance to have cancer pain increases if the cancer has become advanced. Even it can be more painful, too. However this can vary from patient to patient.
It occurs in many different ways. It may be achy, dull, or sharp. The intensity and severity vary, too which could be severe, moderate, mild, intermittent, or constant.
How does cancer pain occur? It can be a result from the cancer itself or other things associated with cancer .
In most cases, it is caused by the cancerous tumor pressing on nerves, bones, or particular organs in the body. Over time, tumor can grow and become large enough to cause more pressure on the surrounding tissues or organs.
At advanced stage, the pain can occur from the primary cancerous tumor itself or the secondary cancerous tumor .
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Diagnosing Your Back Pain
Tell your doctor right away if your back starts to hurt. They’ll try to figure out the cause of your back pain to decide on the best treatments.
You may need to have tests that can help your doctor see the bones inside your back. These can include:
Your doctor may also want you to get a blood test to check your calcium levels. If they are higher than normal, it could be a cause of your pain.
Less Common Signs And Symptoms
Less common signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:
- persistent coughing
- loss of appetite
If lung cancer has spread to other organs, you may have symptoms such as fractures if its spread to your bones or vision issues if its spread to your brain.
Lung cancer may cause groups of certain symptoms that are known as syndromes. Some of the most common are Horners syndrome, superior vena cava syndrome, and paraneoplastic syndrome.
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What Causes Lung Pain In The Back
If you have discomfort while breathing or feel a nondescript pain in your upper back or chest, you may worry that something is wrong with your lungs. A number of ailments can cause chest or back pain, some as simple as a strained muscle or seasonal allergy. It also could be a sign of a more serious condition like lung cancer. But while you’re determining where the pain is coming from, you would be surprised to learn that lung tissue does not actually have pain receptors. The nerve endings that have pain receptors are actually in the lung lining, called the pleura. An injury to the lining of the lung, inflammation due to an infection or invasion by cancer can all cause pain in the chest.
In the case of lung cancer, back or chest pain is caused by the tumor irritating the nerve endings in the pleura, as well as in the bone or muscles that the tumor is invading. Pain also can be the result when cancer growth limits the blood supply to an organ or triggers the formation of blood clots. Lung cancer can occur in locations throughout the chest, so there is no specific location that will indicate that the pain you’re feeling is due to lung cancer. However, lung cancer usually does not cause any symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Common symptoms of lung cancer, in addition to chest pain, include persistent coughing, shortness of breath, production of bloody phlegm, weight loss, weakness, fatigue and recurrent pneumonia.
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A Few More Things A Patient/doctor Can Look Out For:
- Back pain that occurs without any activity.
- Back pain that is the worst at night.
- Back pain worsens if one is lying on the bed.
- Back pain that gets worse while taking a deep breath.
- Back pain that does not respond to physical therapy or other medicines.
The finishing touch
Not all back pain is lung cancer. But if there is a chance of your back pain being a symptom of lung cancer, it would be advisable for you to immediately seek advice from a good cancer doctor like Dr. Manish Singhal, a top cancer specialist in Delhi.
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