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.
Lung cancer describes the development of cancerous cells in the lungs. The two types of lung cancer are small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), an umbrella term used to describe all other types of lung cancer other than SCLC. According to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths in the United States and worldwide every year.
Understanding Typical Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Both types of lung cancer will have similar kinds of symptoms. The typical symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Losing weight for unexplained reasons
- Continuous coughing without a respiratory infection or illness
- Bone pain
- Blood in the mucus when coughing
It is essential to note that many of these symptoms often have more benign causes than lung cancer. However, it is always the best course of action to visit your medical provider or health care professional if you develop any of these symptoms to receive a proper diagnosis.
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Back Pain and Lung Cancer
Most cases of lung cancer will include other symptoms that accompany the back pain. According to the journal Respiratory Medicine Case Reports, 54.7 percent of patients who develop lung cancer also had a cough, and 45.3 percent report indigestion at the time of their diagnosis. However, the same report indicates that in rare cases, the only symptom of lung cancer that a patient experiences is back pain.
Back pain for lung cancer patients will feel different for every person. Some patients with lung cancer may feel a generalized ache throughout their back, while others will feel sharp, stabbing pains. You should visit your health care provider or doctor if you develop any back pain out of the ordinary for you. Early diagnosis of lung cancer can offer more medical intervention options that could prolong your life.
Causes of Lung Cancer
Some of the following behaviors or conditions might make you consider having your back pain evaluated by a medical doctor. If you have any of these risk factors, your back pain may relate to possible lung cancer:
- Smoking cigarettes and cigars
- Secondhand smoke exposure
- Prior radiation therapy
- Radon gas exposure
- History of lung cancer in the family
- Asbestos or other carcinogen exposure
Certain substances such as asbestos can increase the risk of developing lung cancer or mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining surrounding the lungs and other body parts.
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 (metastasized) and how large the tumor appears on the scans.
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Lung Cancer Treatments
If your back pain results in a lung cancer diagnosis, your medical professional will have a treatment plan created specifically for you. You may need to undergo surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of these treatments.
Consider How a Lung Cancer Attorney Can Help You
If you suffered from back pain and received a diagnosis of lung cancer or mesothelioma after a medical evaluation, you might have developed your cancer because of exposure to asbestos years or decades previously. The legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can review your case and determine whether you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Call us today at (800) 794-0444 for your free consultation.