Lung cancer & rib cage pain

Updated February 21, 2017

Pain in the rib cage and chest cavity can be a telltale sign of lung cancer. Often ignored until it's too late, the pain can be an important warning to seek medical attention and treatment.

Why It Hurts

As lung cancer tumours form and grow, they can begin to press on the rib cage, which surrounds and protects the lungs, according to Lung The pressure often leads to chest and rib pain.

Pain Symptoms as a Warning

Any kind of rib or chest pain is an important sign to seek medical attention and possible testing for cancerous tumours.

Why It's Often Too Late

Unfortunately, by the time rib or chest pain symptoms arise, cancer growth may be so advanced that chances of curing it are poor.

Small Cell vs. Non-Small Cell

Small cell lung cancer is more aggressive and often too advanced to effectively treat upon diagnosis, according to Cedar-Sinai Medical Center. Wrong reports this type of cancer is most often associated with chest pain as a symptom. Treatment for small cell lung cancer often includes chemotherapy and radiation.

Non-small cell lung cancer often is more isolated and treatable with surgery most of the time.

Other Symptoms

Other lung cancer symptoms may include a new cough, a bloody cough, pneumonia, hoarseness, loss of appetite or weight, facial swelling and headaches, according to Cedars-Sinai.

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About the Author

Marc Chase is a veteran investigative newspaper reporter and editor of 12 years. Specializing in computer-assisted reporting, he holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois.