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 doesn’t 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 (such as some cancer treatments).

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 (the first place where it started) or the secondary cancerous tumor (from other places /organs in the body where the cancer has spread).

Sometime cancer may also cause pain in other parts of the body even though when it has not spread yet. It can release certain chemicals in the bloodstream which some may cause pain and other unusual symptoms in the distant organs.

Chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy are common treatment options. But they carry some side effects and also can be another potential source of pain.

Where does lung cancer cause pain?

image_illustration381Pain in lung cancer is quite common, though not all patients experience it. Since lung cancer occurs in the lungs, chest pain is one of the most common symptoms. Even sometime it can be the early sign of the disease.

Typically, this chest pain is followed with shortness of breath or/and cough. It usually occurs when patient takes a breath.

Lung cancer can also cause pain in other parts of the body, these may include:

Back pain

Actually, back pain in lung cancer is quite rare. However sometime this cancer can be large enough to cause pressure and affect structures of the back.

Back pain may also be associated with the metastasis of lung cancer, especially if the cancer has spread to the bone. We have written about the link between lung cancer and back pain in the previous post, see more in here!

Shoulder pain

It can come from the pain in the shoulder or pain from elsewhere in the body (referred pain). Unlike back pain, shoulder pain is quite common in lung cancer. Even sometime it can be one of the early signs of this cancer.

And there are several reasons of how a cancerous tumor in the lung can cause shoulder pain. To learn more about this topic, see this post!