By IANSlife Features
New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANSlife) Lung cancer is often stigmatised as ‘smokers disease’ but in today’s time, non-smokers cannot escape the risk of having lung cancer as well.
Lung cancer is one of the most critical types of cancer to be diagnosed, as it usually doesn’t show any abnormal signs until it has spread to other parts of the body. Since there are no or few nerve endings in the lungs, large tumours can easily grow silently without any kind of early symptoms.
Abnormal malignant cell growth in the lung can be termed as lung cancer. Due to uncontrolled growth of cells, a structure like tumor is formed. This may block airways, disrupting normal gas exchange.
Unexplained back ache can be a sign of lung cancer. If lung cancer continues to grow and spread to the spine, it creates pressure on backbone and spinal cord. This can cause pain in our neck or upper, middle, or lower back. The pain may also spread to our arms, buttocks, or legs. Sudden weakness of a limb, possibly due to cord compression can occur. Back or neck may feel numb, weak, or stiff. The back pain caused by lung cancer may be generalized like a muscle cramp or sharp like a current. So, it is important to know when to consult a physician if one experiences back pain. Any persistent back pain especially lasting for more than three weeks, needs doctor’s consultation.
We must understand that not every back pain means the possibility of lung cancer. Back pain can be a result of any kind of spine injury or inflammation as well. There are certain facts which indicate a red flag, that back pain can be because of severe underlying illness. This include the following:
Back pain that occurs even without any activity
Back pain that is worst at night
Back pain worsens if one is lying on bed
Back pain that gets worse while taking a deep breath
Back pain that does not respond to physical therapy or other medicines
Moreover, back pain accompanied by other significant signs such as a persistent cough, shortness of breath, constant chest pain, unintentional weight loss, chronic fatigue, or the coughing up of blood may further support the likelihood of lung cancer.
It is important to realise, that being our own advocate in taking care of our health, can be the best way to live a healthy life. One should not ignore any signs and symptoms and be ready to take expert advice. Early diagnosis means less treatment and more chances of cure.
(Inputs from Dr. Mohit Agarwal – Additional Director and Head of Department Medical Oncology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh)
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