The Upper Back Pain And Lung Cancer Connection

Upper back pain and lung cancer go hand in hand.  Of course, this does not mean that just because you have back pain that you should panic and assume that you have lung cancer but it is a symptom.  The upper back pain and lung cancer combination is generally accompanied by other symptoms as well.

What Is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is the growth of uncontrolled, abnormal cells that are in your lungs.  Rather than growing into normal, healthy lung tissue, they continue to divide and then form masses or lumps called tumors.  These tumors interfere with your lung's ability to function and complete its job of providing oxygen to the bloodstream to pump through the body.

If the tumors happen to stay in one location and barely grow, it is considered benign.  Malignant tumors however are much more serious.  These are tumors that grow when cancer cells migrate through the lymph system or blood to other parts of the body.  When one of these tumors spreads somewhere else in the body and invades healthy tissue, it has metastasized.  This is very hard to treat.

When lung cancer originates in the lungs it is called primary and if it originates somewhere else in your body and then moves to the lungs, it is called secondary.

Signs And Symptoms

Aside from the upper back and lung cancer connection that you may have already established, there are many more signs and symptoms that you should also be aware of.  Keep in mind that symptoms are varied and depend on location and how widespread it is.

  • No Symptoms – Approximately 25 percent of individuals who have lung cancer were unaware until they had a routine chest X-ray done because they had absolutely no symptoms at all.
  • Cancer Symptoms – When the cancer grows and invades the tissue of the lungs, it often interferes with breathing and can cause a shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, wheezing and coughing up blood.  If the nerves have been invaded by the cancer it can cause shoulder pain, paralysis, hoarseness of your voice and of course, the upper back pain and lung cancer combination.  Additionally, if the cancer invades your esophagus, it can cause difficulty swallowing and if the airway is obstructed than a portion of the lung can collapse and cause infection in the area such as pneumonia or an abscess.
  • Metastasis Symptoms – If lung cancer has spread itself to your bones it might produce pain that is quite excruciating at the involved area.  If the cancer spreads to the brain, it can cause neurological symptoms including headaches, blurred vision, stroke symptoms and seizures.
  • Other Symptoms – Nonspecific symptoms that are present with many types of cancer, including lung cancer are weakness, weight loss, fatigue, depression and mood swings.

Causes Of Lung Cancer

  • Smoking – Approximately 90 percent of lung cancer is from smoking.  It is reported that one out of seven individuals who smoke two packs a day will die from lung cancer.  Cigar and pipe smoke also increases your lung cancer chances by as much as 25 percent.  There are more that 4,000 chemical compounds in tobacco-smoke.  Your risk of lung cancer decreases a little more every year that you are smoke-free while new cells replace the damaged ones.
  • Second Hand Smoke – Nonsmokers that either live with a smoker or work in an environment that they are constantly exposed to second hand smoke have a 24 percent increased chance of developing lung cancer.
  • Asbestos – Fibers in asbestos can be present for a lifetime in your lung tissue.  Asbestos is banned in many countries after it was proven to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma.
  • Radon Gas – This is a natural chemical gas that is a result of uranium decaying.  It is estimated that 20,000 deaths from lung cancer every year are due to radon gas.
  • Air Pollution – Vehicles, lawn mowers, power plants and factories cause air pollution that attributes for about one percent of lung cancer deaths.