Pancoast Tumor


Looking for some insight as I am concerned about having a Pancoast Tumor. I am 44yr old female smoker that quit 6months ago. In July, I started to have tingling/numbness in my pinky and outside ring finger and palm of my hand.  It has been constant and has never stopped it correlates to the Ulnar Nerve. As time has progressed I am having more scapula, shoulder chest and arm pain...not constant and it's tolerable. I had a chest X-ray in April (before this began) and a cervical X-ray a few weeks ago..nothing majorly found. I have been trying to keep the faith and not freak out but this has been constant for over 2 months.  My Dr ordered a EMG but that's not until October, they are backed up. I have been faithfully seeing the chiropractor to no avail ..she said to give it some more time, but I'm growing impatient and anxiety is building. 


Posts: 147

GRACE Community Outreach Team

Hi aprilbaby1,


Welcome to GRACE. I am sorry that you are experiencing these symptoms and I understand your anxiety. I can reassure you however, that a pancoast tumor is very unlikely in your situation. Though x-rays are pretty low resolution, it's fairly common for such a scan to reveal a pancoast tumor (if present) which has grown to a size that is causing symptoms. Second, pain caused by cancer tends to be constant and worsen over time. Finally, although patients your age can develop lung cancer, this happens much more frequently to older patients, since the cell mutations which lead to cancer take quite a few years to develop. 


Over the years we have seen many posts such as yours, but we haven't had any instances in which a patient of similar age returned to state that the cause of their  symptoms was indeed a pancoast tumor. So as difficult as it many be to do so, please try not to be overly concerned that such a tumor is the cause of your tingling, pain and other symptoms. Pancoast tumors are just not that common, and your symptoms are much more likely to be caused by musculoskeletal issues.


If you need further reassurance and your doctor and insurance are agreeable, a negative chest CT scan would essentially rule out a pancoast tumor.


I hope that you can find the true cause of your symptoms, as well as an intervention that will help you feel better very soon.


Jim C Forum Moderator