Two-thirds of all lung and certain other cancers begin to be noticed when patients 50-plus years old start experiencing lower back and hip pain.
Your doctor will first do a careful medical evaluation, ask you about your pain, and look for risk factors and indicators of cancer. In particular, lower back and hip pain that are constant and don't improve when you change position can be an indicator of cancer. If any of the following fit your situation, see a doctor as soon as possible if you begin to experience lower back and hip pain:
- A previous history of cancer
- Pain that's continual
- Pain that interrupts your sleep—90% of cancer patients experience this
- Weight loss that has no explanation (about 10 lbs. in 3 months)
- Back pain that gets worse in spite of medical treatment
Lung cancer pain
Symptoms of mesothelioma and other lung cancers can be very similar. Lower back and hip pain are common types of lung cancer pain. Lung cancer pain can also be significant in the chest. Pleural effusion (fluid in the lungs) occurs in more than a third of lung cancer patients, and is an extremely common symptom of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma patients frequently complain of difficulty breathing and chest pain. Only occasionally some may have a cough or feel tired and have lost weight.
Thoracic pain refers to any pain that occurs in the region of the chest. While lower back and hip pain are more common presenting symptoms, thoracic pain at some point accompanies almost every mesothelioma diagnosis. It is frequently one of the symptoms of lung cancer. Most instances of mesothelioma pain occur as thoracic pain, since most cases of it involve the lungs and chest.