Symptoms and Signs of Pancoast Tumor (Lung Cancer) Symptoms, Causes, and Life Expectancy

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Medically Reviewed on 3/20/2019

Doctor's Notes on Pancoast Tumor (Lung Cancer) Symptoms, Causes, and Life Expectancy

A Pancoast tumor is a focus of lung cancer located at the very top (apex) of the lung. This is not a special type of lung cancer but rather can be any type of lung cancer that is found at this particular anatomic location. Pancoast tumors are also referred to as superior sulcus tumors. The cause of most Pancoast tumors is non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC), but they may also be due to small cell lung cancers (SCLC).

Signs and symptoms of Pancoast tumor are sometimes referred to as Pancoast syndrome. These include pain in the shoulder, inner side of the arm, and hand. These tumors are less likely than other lung cancers, due to their unique location, to cause the symptoms of cough and chest pain commonly associated with lung cancer.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.