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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Lung Cancer

Question: Right Shoulder blade pain when coughing, what could this be?

 sadie02 - Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:46 pm

Thank you in advance for answering my question!

About 2 weeks ago I went to the after hours care and had an xray done for a cough that I was having. They told me that I had brochitis and put me on an antibiotic. I still have a cough in the am and the evening now. I am now having pains (feels like a strain) in my right shoulder blade and sometimes under my right arm only when I cough. I do not cough during the day. Could I have strained or pulled something from coughing? Could it be lung cancer and they did not see it on the xray? I do not have any other symptoms. No chest pains or arm pains. No bloody mucus. Lastly, should I go have another xray done?

Thank you again!!!!
 sadie02 - Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:58 am


I replied that I have pain only when coughing...I actually also have pain in the shoulder blade when I wake up in the morning. I am a horrible sleeper and I am all over the place on the bed. I sleep with my right arm up and under my head all the time. I am wondering if I aggravated my shoulder blade while coughing and / or it is still hurting from the way i sleep? Or if this could be lung cancer...please see my above post...Thank you.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:48 pm

User avatar Hello,

I am pretty sure that your doctor was thinking of excluding something as evil as lung cancer when he ordered the chest x-ray.

Lung cancer which usually appears in the elderly (median age 70 years) is primarily a disease related to smoking. The amount per day as well as the duration in years, the age at which you started smoking are all very significant risk factors.

You mention in your profile - that your aunt and uncle had lung cancer. A familial risk has been reported but is usually seen with first degree relatives and especially when family members were diagnosed with lung cancer at a young age.

Symptoms of lung cancer are notoriously nonspecific, especially when smoking causes much of the same symptoms.

Your symptoms do match the diagnosis of bronchitis, muscle strain (from coughing), pleurisy (from the infection) can all cause the pain you describe.

I think since you are worried, its a good chance to preach you a bit about quitting smoking! :) Lung cancer is a preventable disease. It's currently the commonest cause of cancer related deaths and it's considered a very common disease. So the idea that 'it doesn't happen to me' is completely unjustified. 90% of all lung cancers are caused by smoking cigarettes. Historically speaking, in the early 1900's an epidemiological study of cancer in the US reported that "the study concludes that lung cancer is a very rare disease not accounting for more than 1% of all cancers". That was before the cigarette industry! Tobacco has been around for a long time but cigarettes have only become part of popular culture since it was publicized during World War I!

Good luck to you - just follow up with your doctor and STOP SMOKING PLEASE! :)

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