Is Shoulder Pain A Sign Of Lung Cancer
Sharp shoulder or scapula pain are some of the most common symptoms of a Pancoast tumor, particularly in its early stages. The pain typically develops as the tumor impacts one or more of the nearby structures, such as the:
- Ulnar nerve, which runs from the side of the arm to the wrist
- Branchial plexus, the nerve fibers that run downward from the spine and into the shoulder and arm
- Parietal pleura, the highly sensitive outer layer of the membrane that lines the chest cavity.
- Endothoracic fascia, the fibrous tissue that separates the chest wall from the diaphragm and the pleura
Shoulder pain can be a symptom of other lung cancers besides Pancoast tumors, typically if a lung tumor presses against a particular nerve or if the cancer travels to the tissues or bones near the shoulder joint.
Its important to note that shoulder pain is far more likely to be caused by an orthopedic condition, such as osteoarthritis or a rotator cuff injury, than lung cancer. Nevertheless, shoulder pain that persists for more than a few days should be evaluated by a medical professional. Shoulder discomfort that is related to lung cancer may worsen at night, be present while resting or occur without impacting range of motion. Lung cancer that is not classified as a Pancoast tumor may also cause a hacking cough, shortness of breath and wheezing, among other respiratory symptoms.
What To Expect From The Exam
A low dose CT is painless and quick. You will lie on your back on a table which can slide in and out of the CT scanner. Once you are comfortable, the technologist will leave the room to perform the scan, but they will be able to see, hear, and speak with you at all times.
The technologist will ask you to hold very still and may ask you to hold your breath during the scan. The table will move quickly through the machine. You may hear some knocking or clicking noises. The actual scan takes less than five minutes.
How Is Lung Cancer & Back Pain Related
Unexplained backache can be a sign of lung cancer. Not all the time, but sometimes. If lung cancer continues to grow and spread to the spine, it creates pressure on the backbone and spinal cord, causing pain and discomfort in the neck or upper, middle, or lower back. The pain may eventually spread to arms, legs, and buttocks.
Sudden limb weakness, which can occur due to cord compression numbness, weakness, or stiffness of back or neck and even generalized muscle cramp or sharp pain which feels like current can be an indicator of lung cancer-related pain.
So, it is in your best interest to consult a cancer doctor if you are suspecting your back pain may be related to lung cancer.
The expert guidance of specialists like Dr. Manish Singhal, the best lung cancer doctor in Delhi NCR, can help.
But, are there any red flags of back pain that can help you determine whether you should or shouldnt talk to a cancer specialist? Yes. And thats exactly what well discuss now.
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Watch Out For Air Pollution Second
SainiLung cancercancernon-smokersWHY NON-SMOKERS GET LUNG CANCER?Second-hand smoking: Thousands of adults die of lung cancer due to second-hand smoking. Carcinogens at work: Air pollution: EARLY WARNING SIGNSBACK PAIN AND LUNG CANCERCRITICAL AREAS TO BE ADDRESSEDNeed for more Radiation Therapy Units:Need for Multi-disciplinary management: Research on Indian Patients: * The author is senior consultant, radiation oncology, Fortis Hospital, Noida
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Diagnosis Of Lung Cancer
A doctor will not merely take your symptom of back pain and diagnose lung cancer. Instead, they will look at your complete medical and health history along with your symptoms. Additionally, your doctor will consider whether you were a smoker or have a family history of cancer, including lung cancer.
Your doctor will likely order diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays of the chest, CT scans, or MRI scans. These tests will determine if your back pain in any way relates to cancer, including lung cancer, or simply indicates a muscle strain or bulging disk.
If your diagnostic tests confirm a lung cancer diagnosis, the doctor will determine your treatments for lung cancer based on how far cancer has spread in your body and how large the tumor appears on the scans.
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Symptoms Of Upper Back Pain
Many cases of upper back pain are caused by problems affecting the soft tissues in your spine . Sprain, strain, and muscle tension are common soft tissue injuries that may cause pain and other symptoms in your upper and middle back. This article describes symptoms of upper back pain, including the red flags you should never ignore.Sprain, strain, and muscle tension are common soft tissue injuries that may cause pain and other symptoms in your upper and middle back. Photo Source: 123RF.com.
Jennifers Back Pain Was Something More
But for the intense morning sickness and utter exhaustion, Jennifer Fraziers third pregnancy was unremarkable. Following a c-section delivery, she felt great. A dull pain in her left flank, though annoying was hardly a great concern. Two months later, the pain hadnt subsided yet, so she paid a visit to her local urgent care. There she was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection a common postpartum issue. She took the full course of prescribed antibiotics, and while the UTI resolved, the back pain did not.
Three months later, with the pain still there, Jennifer saw her primary care physician. Citing her past history with kidney stones, her physician further explored what might be going on. She was not suffering from kidney stones. A diagnostic chest CT revealed a fairly significant amount of fluid and a 1-centimeter spot on her left lung.
Following a c-section it is standard medical protocol for the patient to blow into a tube to clear the lungs. Jennifer recalled that she had not done that following the birth of her daughter. Unconcerned, her pulmonologist agreed that might be playing a role. Out of an abundance of caution, however, he sent the fluid sample out for testing. The expectation was that it would come back clear.
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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.
Back Pain And Lung Cancer: Dont Miss The Red Flags
80% of the world population will experience back pain at some point in their lives.
It can affect anybody, from adolescents to the elderly.
According to WHO, in 9 out of 10 cases of back pain, the primary cause or the root of the pain is often unidentified.
Nobody sees back pain as a red flag, especially an indicator of lung cancer. But, cancer specialists say it can be.
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. It is often stigmatized as a smokers disease. However, with the increase in pollution and a general decline in lifestyle, even non-smokers cannot escape the risk of lung cancer.
Just like anybody can get back pain, anybody can get lung cancer. And sometimes the two can be connected.
What we must understand is that while not every back pain means the possibility of lung cancer, around 25% of lung cancer patients have experienced some form of back pain.
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Whats The Connection Between Lung Cancer And Back Pain
There are many causes of back pain. In some cases, this common complaint could be due to minor injuries or strains. And while back pain may not be one of the first symptoms that come to mind as an indicator of lung cancer, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation notes that it could be just that.
If you are experiencing long-term back pain, you may want to consider if you have any co-occurring symptoms that could also be signs of lung cancer. Other common symptoms include respiratory issues, like hoarseness, coughing up blood , and shortness of breath , as well as irregular head, shoulder, or chest pain. If you are experiencing back pain that persists for longer than a few days, its always best to connect with your health care team.
How Spinal Cancer Pain May Feel
When back pain is caused by a cancerous spinal tumor, it typically:
- Starts gradually and worsens over time
- Does not improve with rest and may intensify at night
- Flares up as a sharp or shock-like pain in the upper or lower back, which may also go into the legs, chest, or elsewhere in the body
Other signs and symptoms that could potentially indicate the origin of back pain from cancer include unplanned weight loss, nausea, fever, chills, or other troubling symptoms.
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Where Are The Lungs Located On The Back
The lungs are located in the chest cavity between the heart and the spine.
They are a delicate yet vital organ of the respiratory system and are vulnerable to a range of illnesses.
The pair of spongy organs are lined by a thin membrane called the pleura, which helps protect and cushion the lungs.
They are housed inside the ribcage for protection, with the top of the lungs located just above the collarbones.
What Does Back Pain Feel Like With Lung Cancer
When you have lung cancer, back pain feels like either a general muscle ache or sharp, like a pinched nerve. In some cases, patients may complain of pain on one side of their back that they believe might relate to the kidney area. Lung cancer patients who do feel back pain often perceive it very differently, and each will have their diverse and unique set of back pain experiences. If your back pain causes you enough discomfort, you should seek the advice of a medical professional who can provide an evaluation and diagnosis.
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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.
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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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.
Lung Cancer And Back Pain
According to the texts, back pain in people with lung cancer can be felt in the lower back region or in the middle back. It is commonly dull or sharp, and it may be caused by malignant spinal cord compression or by the cancer pushing on the nerve, which causes the back pain. Lung cancer may be treated to prevent the cancer from compressing the nerve in order to alleviate back pain.
Pancoast Tumor Risk Factors
Pancoast tumors and other lung cancers share many of the same risk factorsa characteristic or behavior that may increase the likelihood of developing a certain condition. Established risk factors for Pancoast tumors include:
- Smoking tobacco
- Prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke, asbestos or other industrial substances, such as nickel and chromium
- Being between the ages of 50 and 60
Pancoast tumors can affect anyone, including individuals who do not have any known risk factors for this cancer. Still, people with one or more risk factors should be particularly mindful to seek care for symptoms and receive appropriate treatment.
The Real Impact Of Lung Cancer Research Funding
It is thanks to research that patients like Jennifer are able to live long, happy lives, despite a lung cancer diagnosis. No matter the available treatment options, a lung cancer diagnosis is always devastating to both the patient and their families. At LCFA, it is our goal to continue to raise funds for research so that, in our lifetimes, lung cancer can become a chronic disease, not fatal, disease.
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Upper Back Symptoms: When In Doubt See Your Doctor
Because the thoracic spine isnt as susceptible to certain spinal disorders as the cervical spine or lumbar spine , some people may think its immune to pain or other problems. This certainly isnt the case.
Common symptoms of upper back painlike muscle pain, stiffness, and tightnessare often caused by poor body mechanics or spinal injury. But in very rare cases, upper back pain is a sign of a more serious medical issue. If your upper or mid-back pain just wont go away or if its interfering with your daily life, call your doctor. He or she will get to the root of your upper back pain, create a treatment plan for you, and help you learn ways to potentially prevent it in the future.
Migala J. 11 Signs Your Upper Back Pain Is Serious Trouble. Readers Digest. https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/signs-your-upper-back-pain-is-serious-trouble/. Last accessed January 9, 2020.
Upper and Middle Back Pain. Michigan Medicine. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/aba5320. Last reviewed September 20, 2018. Last accessed January 9, 2020.
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Scared I Have Lung Cancer
Sorry if I offend anyone as I havenât been diagnosed with cancer although I am fearful I may have it. I have had a persistent cough for going on 14 weeks now and recently coughed up a little blood, I also had a little upper back pain intermittently. I am an ex smoker of 17 years and I am a man of 39 years old.
This prompted a visit to the gp who said it was probably viral or could be acid reflux and prescribed me some antibiotics and anti reflux meds. He also sent me for a chest x ray too which was clear. The cough has got better but is still there.
I brought up a little blood again a week later not through coughing but though pulling it up from my throat so contacted an out of hours GP who sent me to A& E to get checked out. They took bloods and examined me and sent me for another chest x ray both the bloods and x ray were clear.
I think the a& e doctor may have taken pity on me as she said everything looks fine but was gonna send me for a ct scan to put my mind at rest. I still have the cough and intermittent back pain also have had a little fleeting arm pain and weakness, could be down to aniexty as I am so nervous and worried itâs pretty much on my mind all the time.
I have two young children you see and it terrifies me I wonât get to see them grow up.
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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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