What Is The Correlation Between Back Pain and Lung Cancer?

If you have persistent back pain that doesn't go even after treatment, you should get yourself checked for lung cancer. Get  more details in this article.

Arushi Bidhuri
Written by: Arushi BidhuriUpdated at: Nov 18, 2019 17:20 IST
What Is The Correlation Between Back Pain and Lung Cancer?

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Early diagnosis of any disease requires an early prognosis, which is why it is important to be aware of the symptoms of the disease. This improves the chances of a patient being diagnosed early and to get early treatment. However, most cancers show only a few symptoms early in the disease. By the time the symptoms show, cancer has already progressed to an advanced stage. 

If you are someone who has been diagnosed with lung cancer, you must pay attention to your back. Back pain could indicate that your condition is getting worse or not. There are chances that you are experiencing back pain due to the heavy things you picked up a few hours ago, regardless you should notice how frequently does your back pain occur. An unexplained back pain is a red flag for you to get yourself checked as soon as possible.

What is the Link between Back Pain and Lung Cancer? 

Cancer is the last thing we think about when it comes to back pain. It is generally associated with things like muscle strain, arthritis and osteoporosis. However, this is not always the case. According to a report, about 1 in 4 people suffering from lung cancer have had back pain at some point of the diagnosis. The pain in your back could indicate that the tumour has spread to the spine or the cancer is pressing on the nerves of the spine.

back pain lung cancer

Symptoms of Back Pain that Suggest Lung Cancer 

The symptoms of back pain that suggest lung cancer can look similar to the back pain related to other conditions. But the back pain related to lung cancer can show some specific symptoms, including: 

  • Back pain that doesn’t get better after treatment 
  • Back pain that gets worse at night 
  • Unexplained back pain that occurs without any activity 
  • Back pain that gets worse with deep breaths 
  • Back pain that worsens if you lie in bed for longer 
  • Other symptoms may include: 
  • Persistent cough 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Unintentional weight loss 
  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Coughing up blood 
  • Constant headache 
  • Chronic pneumonia 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Swollen neck or face 
  • Wheezing 
  • Diagnosis of Back Pain 

Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above along with back pain. Your doctor will perform some tests to recognise the cause of your back pain: 

  • CT scan 
  • MRI scan 
  • X-ray 
  • PET scan 
  • Blood tests for calcium levels
back pain and lung cancer

Preventing Lung Cancer from Spreading 

For any disease, early diagnosis improves the chances of a cure. Lung cancer, however, shows only a few symptoms in the beginning. It is only diagnosed when your doctor is checking for some other disease. You should check out for these things that cause damage to lungs. But there some preventive measure you can take to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. 

  • Avoid secondhand smoke
  • Curb smoking 
  • Wear face masks to avoid carcinogens at work 
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, containing a lot of fruits and vegetables 
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Do not drink heavily 


If you experience unexplained back pain, consult a doctor immediately to avoid the progression of the disease. Early detection will improve your chances of recovery from the deadly disease. Stay alert, stay healthy!

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