What Are the Typical Symptoms of a Pancoast Tumor?


Quick Answer

The first symptom of a pancoast tumor is pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades, which often spreads to the inside of the arm, elbow, and ring and pinky fingers, according to WebMD. Other symptoms include a drooping eyelid on one side of the face and arm, hand and shoulder muscle weakness. Some patients experience paralysis when the pancoast tumor protrudes into the area between vertebrae in the spine.

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Full Answer

The shoulder, arm and finger pain associated with a pancoast tumor is frequently constant and severe, WebMD explains. Patients often support their elbow with their opposite hand to ease the tension on the shoulder and upper arm. The hand, forearm and fingers may start to tingle, prickle or feel like something is creeping over the skin.

When the tumor affects certain nerves, the patient may experience Horner syndrome, a condition that affects one side of the face, WebMD states. Patients with the syndrome may stop sweating on the affected side of the face, and develop a drooping eyelid and a narrow pupil.

Up to 25 percent of patients with pancoast tumor experience paralysis and spinal compression, WebMD reports. When the tumor begins to affect the spine, patients may develop paralysis below the waist.

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