Afraid of Pancoast

Trying to live the best life possible.

I’m a 33, turning 34 next month healthy female- In the past 4 months my dr has been watching my bloodwork for a slightly elevated d dimer .55 and ha crp (1.7) as my husband and I were planning on starting a family soon. I’m on a more naturopathic blood thinning protocol and just got retested. D dimer came down to .52 ( still elevated beyond normal of .5) but hs crp has risen to 6.7. In the past 4 months I’ve noticed some scapula pain on my right side- sometimes if I take a deep breath- kinda feels like a ball is there/ or it’s pulled- I constantly want to massage/ dig at it with a lacrosse ball. I will go for a few weeks where when I swallow food I feel slight pain in the back- almost as if I have a piece of gravel in the back, pain goes away when I sit up and pull shoulder blades back ( it’s worse when I hunch at a computer). Now let me say.. I workout a lot, train in aerial circus ( where I do hang from 1 arm a lot) my traps and rhomboids are tight all the time- I’m also a photographer. Finally, I have been dealing with chronic costochondritis for 10 years with injury to t6-t7… the only difference here is I now have pain when swallowing , and pain behind the scapula when I take a super deep breath ( again pain comes and goes). The sometimes back ache has me really worried- especially after reading about pancoast tumors and how the symptoms are scapula pain and how aggressive they can be- I had a chest x ray a year and a half Ago.,, I mean would it grow that fast?? I’m going insane since I saw the bloodwork and have to wait a week to see my dr ( bloodwork got sent to email) any comfort would help!

Lauren Scott

JanineT GRACE …
Posts: 628
GRACE Community Outreach Team

Hi Lauren,


Welcome to Grace.  I'm sorry you're going through this scare. An aggressive cancer like lung cancer would almost definitely show growth in 3 months. It would be highly unlikely that you have a pancoast tumor. They are rare and usually found in older people who smoke or have smoked quite a bit throughout their lives.  Pancoast tumors have similar sounding pain as typical cervical spine issues.  I've had similar pain for most of my life.  When my husband started having pain from a pancoast tumor it sounded just like what I've been dealing with until it became evident that it was getting much worse than anything I get.  It is almost always an orthopedic problem when someone starts having these issues, especially someone who hangs by the arms doing aerial stuff.  I hope you can take this to heart and not worry so much, but I get it and hope it won't be long before you can find out those hoof beats are horses and not zebras (if you hear hoof beats your best guess is horses, not zebras). 


Let us know how things go and best of luck,


I joined GRACE as a caregiver for my husband who had a Pancoast tumor, NSCLC stage III in 2009. He had curative chemo/rads then it was believed he had a recurrence in the spine/oligometastasis that was radiated. He's 10 years out from treatment.