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Old 08-10-2003, 11:30 AM   #1
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BonnieB HB User
Question Could this be cancer

I am new to the boards. I am trying to find some answers to my problem. I am having burning like pains in my upper arm and sometimes behind my shoulder blade, this is on the left side. The pains are now going down to my wrist. I am a smoker and worried about lung cancer. I had a chest xray a few months ago when i had a heart attack but the doctor mentioned nothing being found at that time. Before my heart attack i did have the pains in my left arm constantly. Now its a burning pain in the arm upper part and into the arm pit on times. Also i have from time to time a pinching like pain on my left breast up near the arm pit. Can anyone help me, I am so confused and tired of living with this pain. I cant go back to my doctor for i have no insurance and just got laid off. Someone please give me an idea of what this may sound like. Please !!!!!!!
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:01 PM   #2
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projapoti HB User
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BonnieB.....you have to answer some important questions:

How old are you?
How many packs a day do you smoke?
How many years have you smoked?
Is there any history of lung cancer in your family?
Do you have any other respiratory symptoms? Shortness of breath? Coughing up blood? Chest Pain? Wheezing? etc.

I'm going to be honest with you, if you've been smoking for many years, as you know, lung cancer is one of the risks (if you're young and have been smoking only a few years, the risk is a lot less). I am very uncomfortable hearing about this arm pain that you have. There are certain lung tumours than can grow at the top of your lung (pancoast tumour) which can, in turn, impinge on a nerve plexus that is situated in your armpit (it's called the brachial plexus). The patient will then complain of arm pain, and discomfort.

I know that telling you this is not going to sit well, but with your history of smoking, and the symptoms you describe it would be irresponsible of any doctor to at least investigate this possibility that I mentioned. It is encouraging that a recent x-ray showed no abnormalities, so that's a huge plus on your side, but like I said, you should get it checked out.

If you can, please answer the questions that I've written at the top of this message.

 
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for answering so soon. The answers to your questions are as follows. I am 53, I smoke about a pack a day and have smoked for about 20yrs on and off. I have no family history of any kind of cancers. I am not wheezing or coughing up blood and i do get short of breath when doing physical activity but i thought this was due to the fact of my heart attack. You have really scared me now. Is the tumoe you described dangerous or life threating. Please answer soon
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Old 08-10-2003, 10:02 PM   #4
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projapoti HB User
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Hi BonnieB. I'm very sorry for scaring you. I'm not a doctor, but I am studying to become one (I am currently going in to my third year of medicine). I know that giving news like that is not fun, but I would have felt very bad not telling you what I honestly thought.

Like I said, as a cigarette smoker with a 20 packyear history, cancer is obviously a concern. Like I said though, there are different things that could be causing your symptoms, and that's why it's imperative that you get to a doctor and have it investigated.

Can you be very specific as to where you feel the pain in your arm and shoulder? i.e. is it on your entire arm, or just a part of the arm? Which fingers are affected?

Also, is one of your eyelids droopy compared to the other one?

[This message has been edited by projapoti (edited 08-11-2003).]

 
Old 08-11-2003, 03:10 PM   #5
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BonnieB HB User
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Thanks for taking time with me, I really appreciate it. As for my eyelids, they are ok no changes there. As for the pains in my arm they are up the top of my arm on the inside where you would flex your muscles and also on the outside of my left wrist.It has not really bothered my fingers since my heart attack when my arm went numb and ws tingling down to my fingertips.Also like i said once in a while I will get a pinching like pain on the top of my left breasr right at the arm pit and my arm pit seems to burn. I thought all this was maybe Angina, I didnt know. By the way I quit smoking last night, even though it might be too late. Do you have anymore answers for me? Positive ones I hope. Thanks again
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Old 08-11-2003, 07:42 PM   #6
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projapoti HB User
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One other thing....in terms of your wrist, is it on the pinky side, or the thumb side?

I'm glad to be of help...I'm sorry for startling you, but I'm sure you'd want me to be truthful. Remember though, you do have to keep in mind that there are other things that can cause this...as you said, angina, pneumonia, injury to the arm, arthritis, etc. etc. etc.

If you don't have insurance, can't you just go to the ER? I don't know how it works down in the States, but in Canada, people that don't have family doctors just go to the ER.

 
Old 08-11-2003, 08:03 PM   #7
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BonnieB HB User
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Hi and thanks fo answering. The pain is on the side of my pinky finger but it hurts all over the wrist when I try to move it. Right now my wrist is not hurting but my arm has a burning pain in it right below the elbow now. This pain is non stop but the wrist pain and upper arm pain come and go. Does this help you any? As far as going to the ER I could do that like before but I already owe the hospital $60,000 and the doctor who treated me $6,000 so they may not want to treat me again without ins.
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Old 08-11-2003, 10:53 PM   #8
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hollygirl05 HB User
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Hi Bonnie and Projapoti, I hope you don't mind me posting on your conversations but I had some abdomen ultrasound and an upper gi done last week and I'm waiting on the results at this time. I'm also going to get a pelvic ultrasound as well. I am 31 and started smoking when I was 17. I smoke 1-1 in a half packs a day depending on my stress. I have been having alot of female problems. I also get shortness of breath, I feel a lump in the center of my chest, I also have pain on the right side under my rib and also feels like a small lump. I get alot of tightness in my chest as well. I get sharp pain in my throat when I lay down.
I have pain in my shoulder on the right side into the upper part of my back and neck. My grandmother died of liver cancer and my uncle, her son died of lung cancer. Will that increase my chance of those cancers? I need to quit smoking I know and when I go back for my results, I'm going to ask my doctor about taking something to help me quit. I had some blood work done a while back and my doctor said it looked fine but there was some flags next to a few things, can you read it?
LDL Cholesterol - 120 (h)
platelets - 126 (l)
polys - 78 (h)
monocytes - 3 (l)
Are these considered high or low? Thanks!! Becky

 
Old 08-11-2003, 10:57 PM   #9
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projapoti HB User
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Quote:
Originally posted by hollygirl05:
Hi Bonnie and Projapoti, I hope you don't mind me posting on your conversations but I had some abdomen ultrasound and an upper gi done last week and I'm waiting on the results at this time. I'm also going to get a pelvic ultrasound as well. I am 31 and started smoking when I was 17. I smoke 1-1 in a half packs a day depending on my stress. I have been having alot of female problems. I also get shortness of breath, I feel a lump in the center of my chest, I also have pain on the right side under my rib and also feels like a small lump. I get alot of tightness in my chest as well. I get sharp pain in my throat when I lay down.
I have pain in my shoulder on the right side into the upper part of my back and neck. My grandmother died of liver cancer and my uncle, her son died of lung cancer. Will that increase my chance of those cancers? I need to quit smoking I know and when I go back for my results, I'm going to ask my doctor about taking something to help me quit. I had some blood work done a while back and my doctor said it looked fine but there was some flags next to a few things, can you read it?
LDL Cholesterol - 120 (h)
platelets - 126 (l)
polys - 78 (h)
monocytes - 3 (l)
Are these considered high or low? Thanks!! Becky
Not to be patronizing, but doesn't the "h" mean high and the "l" mean low?
Quote:
Hi and thanks fo answering. The pain is on the side of my pinky finger but it hurts all over the wrist when I try to move it. Right now my wrist is not hurting but my arm has a burning pain in it right below the elbow now. This pain is non stop but the wrist pain and upper arm pain come and go. Does this help you any? As far as going to the ER I could do that like before but I already owe the hospital $60,000 and the doctor who treated me $6,000 so they may not want to treat me again without ins.
Your pain is consistent with SOMETHING pressing against the brachial nerve plexus in your armpit. Is there NO ONE you can go and see? No one at all?

 
Old 08-13-2003, 03:56 PM   #10
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BonnieB HB User
Question

Hi and thanks again for trying to help me. I just have one other question to ask you that I had forgotten earlier. I noticed the other day when dressing that my left shoulder on top looked different from the right. The right one looks normal but the top of the left shoulder is sunk in. I dont know if you are male or female but its the area where your bra straps would be.That part of my left shoulder is sunk in and you can see it looks different. It makes the end of my shoulder that connects to my arm stand out. I have not had any pain in that area just in the areas I mentioned before which was the burning pain in my left arm at the top on the inner side where you flex your muscles or below the elbow to the wrist. And yes the pains now and then but not always at the same time as my arm but on top of my chest near the arm pit. Can you make anything out of this?? My shoulder looks diclocated but there is no pain there. Last night I did noticed a little pain on top of my shoulder that went towards my collar bone.
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Old 08-15-2003, 12:10 AM   #11
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projapoti HB User
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Well, that could just be something on your shoulder you didn't notice before.

Have you made any plans to see the doctor yet?

 
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