Where cancer causes pain in areas of the body far away from the original site, it is likely that the cancer has metastastized, or spread to areas far away from the initial tumor. When it comes to cervical cancer, pain in the shoulders, arms or neck is usually a sign of extremely advanced cancer, necessitating an alteration in the goals of your treatment plan.
According to the medical website Medline Plus, cervical cancer is one of the more common cancers in women worldwide, but the frequency of undetected cervical cancer in the United States is much lower due to regular gynecological care. Symptoms of this disease include irregular periods, bleeding post-menopause or continuous discharge from the vagina.
As cancer develops, it moves from the original site to surrounding lymph nodes, then moving throughout the body to other organs and tissue far distant from the original site. According to the American Cancer Society, this process is called metastatis. The cancer normally travels into the bones, causing localized pain and weakening the structural integrity of the bones.
Localized Upper Body Pain
Where a cervical cancer diagnosis has been made and you are experiencing persistent and localized pain in your neck, shoulders and arms, you should immediately make an appointment with your health care provider for a full examination, as it is possible that the cancer has spread to distant sites.
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Another possible reason for the localized pain in the shoulders, upper body and arms could be from your cancer treatment protocol. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are both known to come with (sometimes heavy) side effects, including resultant pain throughout the body. While it is possible that the cancer has spread, it is also possible that the pain is merely a side effect of treatment, so do not become unduly concerned until you have been examined by a physician.
The solution will depend on the root cause of the problem. If the issue has been triggered by treatment, prescription of additional pain medications might help to improve your quality of life. If the issue has been triggered by metastatis of the cancer, you will likely need to consult with your doctor about reevaluating your current treatment regimen to meet this new development.
TS Jordan is an Ohio licensed attorney living and practicing out of the Cleveland area. In addition to his Juris Doctorate, he holds a Bachelors' Degree in Information Systems. He has been writing professionally for less than a year.