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Pain between the shoulder blades

Posts: 120
Joined: Aug 2011

How long prior to diagnosis did the pain between the shoulder blades show up? Anyone remember? I do remember my husband complaining for a long time about pain between his shoulder blades before diagnosis, but he just thought it was our bed . . . I can't remember how long before though . .

Heeran's picture
Posts: 173
Joined: Aug 2011

My mom started complaining about pain radiating to her back between shoulder blades 3-4 years ago. Doctors must be stupid because we went in and no one could figure it out. She was having this problem in combination with acid reflux. And then in January of this year she had trouble swallowing and last Friday diagnosed with Squmous Cell. A year ago, the doctor even recommended removing her gall bladder to see if that's the cause. The health care system is definitely not perfect.

hopper52's picture
Posts: 117
Joined: Apr 2011

This is an excerpt of a post I made to Heeran.....didn't know if you saw it or not.

"About 3-4 years ago I began experiencing pain between my shoulder blades and I would have chest pain intermittently. I was a heavy smoker so I kind of blew it off since the chest pain only would come occasionally and then when I had been smoking heavily......more of a tightness rather than pain. My doctor recommended I do a stress test and had me see a cardiologist who immediately inserted 3 stents in my right coronary (70% blockage). But the pains didn't go away. When I researched pain between the shoulder blades on Dr Google, esophaegal cancer was listed as one of the causes. Then I began to have trouble swallowing....not all the time, mainly on breadstuff. In any case that EC remained in the back of my mind. When I did my followup with the cardiologist I explained I was still having the same pains. He checked me out and said, "Well, it's not your heart." I went to my primary doc and asked him to refer me for an endoscope. Suspecting the worse, I had the endoscope done at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and the rest, as they say, is history. They found a tumor near the junction that had penetrated the outer wall of my esophagus. The EUS didn't indicate any nodal involvement. (Let's pray for that to be the case with your mother). I was staged at T3N0M0 (Stage IIA) so I'm able to have surgery. I know that they won't have the complete picture until after and they check the removed nodes but I'm optimistic."

Michael Daniels (T3N0M0)
Brandon, FL

Posts: 120
Joined: Aug 2011


It was this post that lit the light bulb for me :) I put it together after I read this. My husband used to get so upset, saying that our bed was 'junk' :) It is a fairly new top of the line pillow top and I used to disagree with him. He used to say that he wanted to buy a new mattress and I would be so bummed because I love our mattress!!

LeeinLondon's picture
Posts: 107
Joined: Aug 2011

I used to get this pain starting about 3 years ago. The pain would usually start in my chest and radiate into my back. Drinking some water and getting someone to smack me on the back usually helped. I believe the pain was caused by tumours on both sides of my esophageous making contact and "sticking together". The pain usually struck during hot days or other times when I tended to be dehydrated. The water would flow and unstick them.. just my theory.

sandy1943's picture
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

I know it was at least two years. I did'nt have reflux and didn't realize this was caused from reflux. I had this hurting a lot, but thought it was artheritis. Twice during this time I also hurt real bad in my chest, so the dr. had my heart checked. By the time I was checked ok, I would feel better and not follow through with other test.I was lucky! Because of my and my doctors negligence I was only stage 111 with three lymph nodes positive.

Joel C's picture
Joel C
Posts: 177
Joined: Mar 2011

I started with pain in the left side of my chest radiating to the center of my back between the shoulder blades for about three years before my diagnosis last summer (July 2010). Every year at my physical I would complain of this pain, twice I had stress tests that showed no heart problem. Finally by spring 2010 the pain was getting so bad I was avoiding certain foods. Finally after over three years I was sent in for the scope and diagnosed with stage 2B EC. I had the MIE 11/18/10 and had 15 nodes removed during the surgery and now find I have an active node in my neck. I believe in both the diagnosis and surgery the doctors did me a dis-service. Do you ever get the feeling that health care is more about the doctors and them making money and less about the patient? I know I certainly do.

Ericalynn's picture
Posts: 207
Joined: Jun 2011

This post just hit my like a ton of bricks falling on my head. I think I am going to start crying, John slipped and fell in the shower in Jan of 2010. He was still having balance issues (due to stroke he had in Nov. of 2006). He fractured two ribs (10 & 11) on the right. He complained all of the time about pain. He said the pain was in the area of the ribs and radiated to his back between his shoulder blades. I kept telling him that rib fractures are very painful and it was probably from the fractured ribs. John has a very high tolerance for pain so I did think it was curious that he was having so much pain for so long. Then last year around the holidays he would point to his epigastic area and state the pain wrapped around his ribs and into to his back. He went to primary care in late Jan. Doctor told him to start Prilosec and go back in two weeks. John did not go back until he started having difficulty swallowing in mid May. All that time wasted; well here I go what if, what if. I cannot go there now, most move forward toward surgery on Friday but…

NikiMo's picture
Posts: 347
Joined: Jul 2011


Don't let yourself go there, it is just too painful and it can't help fix this problem our loved ones are facing. Jeff was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia last year and actually had the surgery to correct it. This all started with chest pains, we were told it was caused by the hernia. They did biopsies and didn't even find barrets, and then BAM 8 months later stage 2 EC. I didn't go with Jeff to the doctor's last year as once the hernia was diagnosed we both though that was fairly common and I was in the middle of a huge project at work. He saw the surgeon and all of the GI docs himself. I can't help but think if I had gone I would have pried more into all of this, as I am the kind of person that has 1,001 questions all of the time. I can't help but think I could have pried something some bit of buried knowledge about EC out of one of them. But, Jeff has asked me not to blame myself, as that doesn't fix anything now, plus he also says he places no blame on anyone.

We can't go back, only forward!! Good luck with the surgery, ours is tomorrow and I am starting to get anxious now....


Ericalynn's picture
Posts: 207
Joined: Jun 2011

You are so right No what ifs any more, just need to move forward! I have been thinking about you and Jeff all morning. I am starting to get anxious too so no surprise that it is happening to you now, we still have three more days. I am sending positive energy to you and Jeff! Can't wait to read your post telling us that Jeff is out of surgery and starting his recovery!
We are all out here cheering for each other
What an awesome thought to have so many people helping us get through this big day.
All the best

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