Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have lung cancer?"
For three weeks I've had annoying mid-upper back pain that isn't really helped with OTC meds. For two days I've had a little dry cough. No other symptoms. I have health anxiety, so my first worry is lung cancer. How likely would that be? I'm F/43 non-smoker. Thanks.
Certainly lung cancer is probably the last thing I would think of with the symptoms that you have, though I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for further evaluation of this problem. Lung cancer typically presents when it causes problems with breathing or when it metastasizes to the bones. Because the lungs do not have nerves to send pain signals to the brain, most lung cancers are allowed to grow to fairly significant sizes and cause significant problems for become a detected. Sometimes lung cancer can cause a back pain and a dry cough if it is irritating the pleura. However, in a young non-smoker, this is very unlikely. It is most likely that you have some type of pleuritic chest pain that is caused by inflammation of the outer lining of the lung. There are many reasons to have this type of pain and it is quite common. Again, I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for further evaluation of this problem. I would say that for starters a physical exam should be done to see what can be found especially looking for abnormal sounds within the lungs and tenderness along your back. If nothing is found and the symptoms are quite severe, your doctor might decide to get a chest x-ray for further evaluation.
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