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Getting nervous

Posts: 46
Joined: Aug 2019

Hello, it's been awhile since I have been on here. I guess after going through everything with my husband it was hard to keep seeing stuff about cancer but it's always there like now. My husband started having some back pain, he has always had some back pain due to a fusion he had on his lower back in 2006 but it was after a long day of standing it would ache, rest always helped it. Then towards end of December it seemed to get worse, his lower back seemed to ache more but again rest seemed to help. He then assisted our neighbor in helping his ailing wife off the floor on 3 different occassions 3 days in a row. Right after that his middle back really started hurting. After about 2 weeks I convinced him to go see the doctor in which he did and physical therapy was what they recommended which seemed to help the muscle type pain but still had pain. Dr ordered xrays and MRI of back and it shows degenerative and some disk bulging which dr said definitley can cause his pain. He already knew that having a fusion which was L-5 -S-1 that over years could affect the other leveles above. So now he is going to be seeing a dr/chiropractor for this next week and hoping for relief. However, my husband is very worried it could be cancer that has spread to his lungs causing back pain, he has no other symptoms. We mentioned this to his orthopedic dr and he said there was nothing on MRI that would make him think cancer but still after having it it really makes you worry. I am being hopeful and don't think he does and I'm scared to death of having his cancer come back or show up some where else. Has anyone else experienced anything like this before? He is not due to have his yearly scans from his colon cancer until July but I told him that maybe we should still call the oncologist and run it by her. Sorry for the long post.


Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5512
Joined: Jan 2013

You are right, it is a worry that will never go away. Put it to the back of your mind, if you're lucky, but whenever an ache or pain appears, Cancer jumps right to the forefront. And I mean, to the extreme, sometimes.  ie. I had a a shooting pain in my big toe - yeah, I know, its going to be laughable, but the first thing I thuoght of was Cancer. Had it spread.  I even passed it by my Oncologist, who was professional enough not to laugh out loud.  

So yes, Cancer can spread, and definitely more likely to the lungs than to a big toe, but normally - not always, but normally, Cancer jumpes from Colon to liver to lungs. Rarely does it jump straight to the lungs.  That should give you a measure of comfort. 

I would do one of two things.  I would call and have a chat to my Oncologist. Run it by them. Have scans, xrays, whatever he just had done at the hosptial, sent to the Onc and see what she has to say. It would be worth the bill that will come in the mail, just to get some peace of mind OR  I would just wait until July, which is coming up like a high speed train.  

Like it or not; this is a club that few people are able to cancel membership to.  

I wish your husnand the best, and you as well. Keep us informed on how it goes. 


Posts: 46
Joined: Aug 2019

Thank you Tru for the quick response and comfort. We have made a call to the oncologist. It's hard as his wife to not worry and I think it makes me worry more seeing him in so much diistress. Not only does he have the back pain but worrying on top of it. I am being hopeful that it is nothing related to cancer. Thank you. I do not think it's silly to think you had cancer in your big toe, nothing is funny about worrying it comes back.I am a healthy person but ever since his colon cancer every single ache I have I think it could be. I just do a lot of praying. Thank you again 

SandiaBuddy's picture
Posts: 1189
Joined: Apr 2017

If it is any comfort, I have had terrible back pain post chemo.  I blame it on the chemo, but it could just be age.  But to this point, there is no evidence that it is a new cancer.  It is very common to think that any ache or pain is cancer.  Maybe it is a bit of PTSD.  I think we all experience the same thing.

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6722
Joined: Feb 2009

Yup, always in the back of your mind.  Things like a sore throat, sore shoulder, back pain, anything really will set one off that has been through cancer.  It's easy for another doctor to dismiss your concerns without hearing from the oncologist, so like others have said, call him and ask him just to go over it.  If the doctor sees anything that is of concern then deal with it then, but please don't let if worry you too much now.  Wishing your husband the best.


abita's picture
Posts: 1072
Joined: Dec 2017

Since my liver resection, I get charley horses in the area where they pulled the ribs back when I twist in a certain way. Every single time, it pops into my head that something is wrong with my liver. It has been 3 years, always just the muscle having a charley horses, but I still panic until it goes away. Every single time.

NewHere's picture
Posts: 1340
Joined: Feb 2015

I had mets got to my lungs and spine.  (When they caught my initial diagnosis I had no symptoms - my initial surgery had 12 lymph nodes come back positive, expanded outside the colon and there were a couple of suspect spots on the lungs)

I had no back pain when I had it in the colon or even with the lung met that initially showed as cancer and which resulted in part of my left lung being removed.  My intial spot in spine was L3 from a tumor that started in psoas muscle.  When it started hurting it was very clear on the scan, though looking back at scans that were earlier it looked like it could have been on them.  I had radiation for it, and by the time I get set-up with the body mold and all the rest I could not wait to have radiation.  

As Tru mentioned going to lungs without liver is rare.  Going to the spine is also something that happens relatively rarely.  High end estimates I have seen is 27% of the cases, though most reports I have read indicate it is lower.  Something else to note from April, 2016 "Skeletal metastases are extremely rare, particularly when encountered in the absence of lung and liver metastases. " 

One last thing, again as people mentioned, every ache, pain, sneeze or things within what would be normal, including back pain where someone has had spinal fusion and showing degeneration and bulging discs, gives the thought of cancer to patients and their families.  We literally cheered when I was told I had a kidney stone and was crawling in pain during all this for me.  But despite our fears, a zebra is often just a horse. So try to not stress too much about it.  Keep on eye on it.  Track the pain, progression, things that may or may not help with alleviating the pain (or triggers it) with jotting down some notes if needed.  See if the chiropractor helps.

With everything you described, it sounds like back pain and not cancer.  So try not to worry too much. Ask for another scan (including a PET scan) if things do not resolve or worsen in the next couple of months.  

worriedson714's picture
Posts: 327
Joined: Dec 2019

My dad has a huge kidney stone and even though we know that every time he is in pain my mind instantly thinks cancer . And when he forgets something like I'm sure most 62 year old people do I automatically worry about it spread to his brain actually I kind of obsess over it . At the start I used to call the oncologist even time something like this happened but then I realized doing so put so much extra stress on my dad . Cause it caused more scans and bloodtests and every single time I obsessed over something like this it turned out to be nothing . A fact that scares me to death is there really is no way to get ahead of the cancer . All we can really do is follow doctors orders pray and just enjoy every moment we have of this life with our loved ones . I find meditating to really help with this fear to just kind of push the thoughts away but as the others have said your not alone in this . 

Posts: 46
Joined: Aug 2019

Thank you everyone for the reassurance. We did contact his oncologist and she is going to view the MRI and xrays but like all of you said, she doesn't believe it is cancer.  Relieved? yes and no, I guess because she said he is due for his CEA which set fear of what the results will be. My husband has had so many health issues it's almost like I sit here and wait for whats next. It's so hard seeing a loved one your spouse feeling so discouraged with everything, life it's so hard.  thanks again, I'll let you know what she says after seeing MRI

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