Can Rib Pain Be a Sign of Cancer?

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Chronic pain experienced in the ribs can be a sign of bone cancer, according to Healthline. A doctor should be consulted to properly diagnose the condition with a bone scan.

Pain in the rib cage can be sharp, dull or achy, and it can be felt at or below the chest or above the naval on either side, explains Healthline. Pulled muscles or bruised ribs are the most common causes of rib pain. Other causes of pain include broken ribs, chest injuries, rib fractures, bone diseases, inflamed lung linings and muscle spasms.

If bone cancer is diagnosed as the source of the pain, there are several options, depending on the cancer’s location, whether it has spread and whether abnormal growths are present. Surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy can be used to shrink or remove the growth, reports Healthline.

Treatment of rib pain depends on the particular condition causing the pain. If the pain is caused by a minor injury, swelling can be reduced with a cold compress on the area, claims Healthline. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol can be used to reduce significant pain. If the pain is caused by a broken or fractured rib, prescription pain relief medications can be prescribed. Compression wraps can also be used to splint the wound and prevent further injury and greater pain. These wraps are used in rare cases, as the tightness prevents patients from breathing easily and can increase pneumonia.