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Possible Cancer?/Back Pain

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi, glad I found this site. I'm an only child age 38 (and single) and my mom lives 4 hours away. She's been having stabbing back pains and a stiff neck for the last month, and the doctors found a 4 cm mass in her lung. They want to take a lung biopsy and have told us it's most likely cancer.

I've read that if it's small cell cancer and has metastisized to the back, it's possible for the cancer to cause this back pain (so far she has had 3 episodes in the last month of back pain that has caused her to pass out). The doctors have done tests for spinal stenois (she has this but it's very mild), osteoporosis (she has this but it's not severe enough to cause the pain she's getting), and degererative arthritis of the spine (very mild if at all). They've pretty much ruled out these back issues as the cause and think it is the lung mass that's causing her back pain.

Question, is there additional info you may have on lung cancer causing back pain?

We're going for a biopsy either this week or next week. For a woman who's been so strong all her life, this has my mom very frightened.

greta's picture
Posts: 240
Joined: Jun 2000

You can call the ACS national cancer information center any time and speak to a cancer information specialist to get more information. It's open around the clock every day. Best wishes to you and your mom. Greta

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Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi! I am 26/ F and my dad was just diagnosed with stage 3 non small cell lung cancer in October. He had been having back pain since May. First he thought it was just his back, so he went to the chiropracter, which didn't help. We thought maybe it was the kidneys, but tests said it wasn't. We thought maybe his ribs, x-rays showed nothing still. Now, my dad is not the type of person to complain about pain, he is a pretty tough guy, but he said that it was the worst pain he had ever felt, kind of like someone was taking a big sharp knife and moving it up and down in his back. He had xrays, CT scans, and MRIs and nothing showed up. The doctors said he could not find anything...which made my dad mad! He went to another doctor who took another set of MRIs, Cts and xrays...the problem was that all the pictures they were taking were of his lower back..finally I guess they did the upper half of his body, which didn't show up cancer the first time (it was hiding) so he had them do it again, and they finally saw something. They took a biopsy and found the cancer. I guess it metastasized (sp?) and spread to his bones...reason for the back pain.
This is the first time I've responded to someone's post, but reading all the other messages has helped me out so much, I decided I could just give you any little bit of info that might pertain to you and your mother. I hope it helps out and have them be persistent on checking it. Best of luck and stay strong!

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2004

My grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer in May, and she has been having a lot of pain in her ribs and back lately. She has been in the hospital for a week now, and they can't find anything. I didn't think I would ever find out what was causing it, but now I will have the Dr check again. She's been through radiation, but refuses chemo, and at age 83, I'm not going to push her into anything. I just want to find a way to stop her pain.

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2003

Ninette, thanks for your reply!!! That's pretty much how it happened with my mom too. Only, when they took the biopsy they didn't get all the tissue they wanted and so they are unable to type it, though the pathology report said it's suggestive of a sarcoma--and sarcomas don't usually occur in lungs. SO it's an atypical cancer.

Mom won't do another biopsy and I'm not pushing her to do so. Her lung collapsed as a result of the biopsy and she went through a lot of pain from it on top of the pain she's already in.

Did your dad have a PET scan? The drs. didn't think a PET scan would tell them much more than they already know, as they took CT scans of her neck, chest, and abdomen. The cancer has spread to her bones in her neck, as well as to one of her lower ribs.

The doctor has ordered a soft collar for her because her neck pain is so bad. They say that if she jolts her neck, or she falls, the bones are getting so fragile that she could break her neck in an instant and become paralyzed. That scares the bejeezes out of me. Mom had her first radiation treatment yesterday, just as a means of pain control...not to cure it. She doesn't want to fight it, as she feels quite ready to leave this earth.

It must have been really frustrating to see him go through all those tests without a diagnosis for so long.

Since our parents seem to have similar circumstances, would you like to keep in touch via this board? I'd like to give you any helpful info that I have as my mom goes through this.

Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2004

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