Worried about pancoast tumor

I’m here seeking information from good people, I’m concerned about some symptoms I’m facing.

Hello, please if anyone can give me insight concerning my symptoms it would be greatly be appreciated. First, I can't make it to my GP as she's booked until the end of the Feb 3rd. To give you some insight about my health, I smoked for 28 years and I quit 12 years ago, I'm 55. I have ptsd which resulted in deep depression which then resulted in binge drinking several times a week over the years. However, I eat right and I take a lot of supplements.

I'm going to stop alcohol because it obviously exacerbates my left arm/shoulder and rib cage pain, which would make sense since alcohol can cause aches and pains. In my lifetime I've seldom come up with the common cold, I have no other symptoms other than the shoulder/arm/rib pain. I had brohchitis but that stopped after I quit smoking. I began taking L theanine and ashwagandsa which has help with my anxiety but I'm looking into to medications rather than self medicate.

As for my left rib cage pain it's mild when I take deep breaths. I noticed I also get upper back pain when I'm sitting too long. I don't remember if in those times I also had left arm pain, sometimes my left arm pain is milder compared to other days. The aches feel more like a vice/ache not a tingly pain and mostly felt on my upper left arm. Yesterday I felt no pain while lying down until I got up to go the bathroom then it returned full force and that was after binge drinking on NYE. I honestly don't know how long I've had these symptoms, perhaps about a year. But the pain was very sharp and painful several times this week which led me to investigate the possibilities.

I'm very scared that this could be a pancoast tumor or perhaps heart related. I could be wrong but I don't think it's associated with alcohol because I have deep aches not tingling sensations. Again, if you can give me any insight that would be so helpful since I have a long wait before I can see my GP I'm worried, thank you very much.

JanineT GRACE …
Posts: 637
GRACE Community Outreach Team

Hi Mari33, Welcome to Grace.  I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time.  I don't think we can give you any more info than is already written in the many threads and posts on the subject.  The vast majority of pain as you've described is related to pinched nerves and that's where a workup would start... docs aren't going to look for a Pancoast tumor when it's most likely orthopedic or nerve-related; you know the saying - when you hear hoof beats you don't look for zebras.  But of course, it's possible.  From everything I've read from people who've had Pancoast tumors, including seeing my husband's level of pain, the pain is excruciating.  For what it's worth, the pain is a good warning sign.  Pancoast tumors show their presence while other lung cancer tumors hide out in the lungs where there are no nerve endings/no pain.  With today's tech, these tumors have become much more curable because they are found in time/people get seen because of the pain. 


If you think you've got a broken rib that may be a reason for your doc to see you sooner/urgent care.


I hope you find that this isn't cancer, you most likely will.  Please keep us posted as we don't usually get feedback about not having a pancoast tumor...but it would be nice to have that to show others.  And I hope you do well getting better order in your life. I know how difficult it can be.  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.