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Thursday, September 18, 2014
Knee pain and lung cancer
I just cought a bit of the news today. There was some study that showed that knee pain could be a warning sign for lung cancer. Can you give me some more information on this?
Thank you for your question. The study to which you are referring was recently published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. The authors reported that 1.7% (5/296) of patients with isolated arthritis of the knee were subsequently diagnosed with lung cancer. These patients were middle aged men with a history of heavy tobacco use. The authors suggest that isolated knee pain in a heavy smoker MAY be a sign of an undiagnosed lung cancer. Such results should be interpreted with caution. While it is true that some cancers of the lung may present with joint pain (considered a paraneoplastic syndrome), isolated knee pain is rare. In addition, it is not clear what percentage of heavy smokers without symptoms such as joint pain may have undiagnosed lung cancer. There are still many other more common causes of isolated knee pain. If you have concerns and feel that you are at high risk, you should discuss this with your primary care provider.
Patrick Nana-Sinkam, MD
Associate Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University