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Cancer » Burst Cancer

Can Your Back Pain Be an Indication of Breast Cancer

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You’ve been asked to report a lump in your breast, any change in your nipple or skin color around the bust area, for they may be signs of a developing tumor. But back pain doesn’t hold a position among the prominent symptoms of breast cancer.


It may leave you wondering if that uneasy sensation emanating from deep within your back should be reported to a doctor. Are you merely sore? Did you pull a muscle? Or could it be that your constant back pain is an indication of metastatic breast cancer?

When Does Back Pain Become a Symptom of Breast Cancer?

Olivia Newton-John, the ‘Grease’ fame actress, had been complaining of severe back pain for quite some time when she decided to get it treated. She had to postpone the first half of her Canada and US concert tour. That was May 2017.

The entire tour was canceled soon after when Olivia went for a cancer treatment. What Newton-John had considered as a flared case of sciatica turned out to be metastasized breast cancer that had spread to her sacrum.

While scary, back pain is too common a problem to associate it with metastatic breast cancer exclusively. However, when cancer begins spreading from the breasts and reaches the bones, it can lead to frequent bouts of moderate to severe pain in the back. The growing cancerous cells meddle with the bone’s outer protective shell. They can also affect the bone strength, damage a nerve around the spinal cord, or cause fractures in various degrees.

Differentiating Normal Back Pain from Cancer-Indicating One

With a regular back issue, you’d have a cause in mind. An injury perhaps, a recent accident, any instance where you may have pulled a muscle- they rush to mind when your lower back begins troubling you. This kind of pain will also recede and intensify as you stand up, sit down, or move about in a particular fashion.

In cases of breast cancer, the back pain is more constant. Trying to heal it with medicines or movements don’t work. It keeps worsening over weeks and months. It may begin at any time, irrespective of any recent injury you’ve had that could explain it.

Breast cancer can be present in your bone marrow for years as a dormant citizen. However, as soon as it gets active, it’ll grow and gradually destroy the nearby bone.

As the bone will attempt to deal with the damage, the trail can be spotted in an MRI or a CT Scan. However, most breast cancers are caught because of a developed mass in the patient’s breast or a mammogram result, and not via the CT or MRI that you may take because of the bugging back pain.

So Don't Jump the Gun- but Be Aware

If you are going through a back pain phase, don’t get ahead of yourself and assume that you’ve breast cancer. If, however, you have a history of the disease or the pain isn’t improving despite treatment, it is then better to talk to a doctor about the chances of your back pain being a sign of breast cancer.

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