Worried I have pancoast tumor.


Hello. I am here to see if anyone can share symptoms of pancoast. And if you can, please, answer some questions. My story: About a month-ish ago, I all of a sudden got this aching pain in my right shoulder blade. It was annoying, and bothersome. It would come and go, and a variety of pain levels, and woke me up at night. In the meantime before this, I felt something "Off" with my throat when I swallowed, like it felt as if "Something" was there. Then I would burp. Very unusual for me. So I have this "Off" feeling in my throat, and now this pain in my right shoulder blade. Then the "Tingles" came. Both arms. From time to time my "LEFT" upper bicep would ache, with tingles. The pain at times radiates from the right to the left, with tingling on my back. One night, both my thumbs and both palms were numbish and tingling. Sometimes my shoulder blade won't hurt at all, then it will, and both my arms and hands get the tingling including my fingers. Does Pancoast affect both sides of the body? I went to my Primary, had a crappy examination. He did feel my lymph nodes, and said they were fine. I insisted on an xray, he refused. I did have blood work, came back ok. 3 nights later, my husband took me to the Hospital ER, and all that was achieved was an x ray, which they said was clear. Tomorrow I have a CT scan. Can anyone please tell me if Pancoast affects both lungs and it normal to have both arms affected. Thank you. P.S. I am a smoker. 61 years old.

JanineT GRACE …
Posts: 611
GRACE Community Outreach Team

Hi Scrappy,


Below I've pasted my comment from facebook. Google is a double-edged sword, you can find anything but without some context, it can be tough to digest. We get more questions about people worried about having pancoast tumors than any other tumor because there is so much context left out.


Hey Say, I'm sorry you're going through this. I'm happy to say that pancoast tumors are vastly unlikely to be the reason for pain that starts around the shoulder and neck area that runs down an arm, but it does happen. It happened to my husband 13 years ago.
I have always had an issue with my neck that has gone through many transitions in my life. For the past 20 years I have had the same pain as you have described, in both arms. Pancoast tumors don't involve both lungs and wouldn't, at least normally cause problems in both arms. Too, a pancoast tumor starts at the top of a lung and grows up and out into the chest wall. So by definition, they don't grow toward the bronchial to cause sore throat or coughing like lung cancer normally does. Maybe the only good thing about a Pancoast tumor is they cause symptoms long before lung cancer normally does with a cough.
Please come back and let us know how things go. I have good hopes that you need pt for some neck issues.  The CT will give you a definite answer about a tumor.
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.