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What Are the Symptoms of Sternum Cancer?

Surgery is typically an option for sternum cancer.
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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 April 2014
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The symptoms of sternum cancer are varied since it may involve different areas of the body, but fatigue, pain around the chest region, bruising, and a general feeling of malaise are common. Sternum cancer can include malignancies found in the bones of the sternum itself, the breasts, or the lungs. In some cases cancer will begin in one area and then spread to another within the same region. The lymph nodes closet to the breast or lungs, as well as the liver, may also be affected.

Sternum cancer includes one of several cancers affecting an organ or tissue in the same general region of the body. The sternum generally includes the chest area and the breast bone underneath. Several vital organ systems are found there, including the lungs and liver.

Since so many varied diseases can affect the area, sternum cancer may not have any specific symptoms in and of itself. Most women notice a lump in the breast or armpit as a first sign of breast cancer, while lung cancer may present itself as frequent coughing and shortness of breath. Bone cancer generally causes extreme fatigue, bruising, and lethargy. Liver cancers are often asymptomatic, but they may cause jaundice and digestive problems.

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All forms of cancer may lead to lethargy and fatigue, as well as malaise. Additional symptoms also occur when treatment of any of the sternum cancer forms begins. Common treatment options may include chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and extreme pain may occur with treatment of virtually any cancer.

A general rule of thumb for patients to follow is to report any symptoms which are unusual for their bodies. Each person is unique, so the signs of sternum cancer may be different for everyone. Many patients have no symptoms at all in the early stages of disease. For this reason, yearly tests like mammogram should be relied on for earlier detection. The soon any cancer is found, the more likely it can be treated successfully.

One form of sternum cancer may spread and lead to additional secondary cancers. Due to their close proximity in the body, breast, bone, and liver cancers are heavily linked because they often spread from one area to the other. Lung cancer is common, although most cases are a direct result of cigarette smoking or similar activities. When taking this into consideration, sternum cancers are among the most prevalent.

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Discuss this Article

ceedee3699
Post 6

I just had knee surgery on March 19th and then two days later, I started experiencing pain and pressure in my sternum. I went back to my doctor and she said to use my cane instead of my crutches in case the crutches were causing the problem.

Well, it didn't help when using the cane, so I went to my general practitioner and they did blood work, and ordered an ultrasound because they thought it was my gallbladder, but the ultrasound was normal. Then just two days ago I started having severe, non-stop pain in my right breast. I always have fatigue because I've had systemic lupus for 37 years. I'm somewhat concerned because both of my parents died of cancer. I don't know what to do next because I don't feel like I'm getting any answers. Any and all advice would be appreciated. Thanks very much.

anon296469
Post 5

I have been experiencing aching pain to the right of my sternum for the past four months. The first time it woke me out of my sleep. The next few were during the day, I had random pains and they would come and go. Since yesterday the pain and discomfort has been constant. It feels like there is a lump/bump there and like it is pushing on my breastbone/sternum.

@Oekc05: Did you ever find out what it was?

seag47
Post 4

An otherwise healthy lady at 84, my grandmother developed bone tumors on her sternum. As the tumors grew, the abnormal tissue replaced the healthy tissue.

She would wake up at night with pain in her sternum. She said the pain was dull and more of an ache than a stab.

As time went on, the pain became more severe. She would wake up at night sweating with a fever. My grandfather finally convinced her to go to the doctor. After she discovered that she had bone tumors, she found that the pain was right in the area of the tumors.

shell4life
Post 3

At only thirty years old, my aunt developed extreme nausea and loss of appetite. It never crossed her mind that she might have breast cancer.

The first doctor that she went to chalked it up to stress and put her on some antidepressants. Her symptoms did not go away at all.

Her second opinion told her to have a mammogram. She did, and it revealed breast cancer that had already spread to other parts of the sternum.

She had been feeling fatigued for almost a year, but she thought it must be because she stayed so busy. The nausea didn’t develop until the month before she discovered her breast cancer.

orangey03
Post 2

My great uncle smoked for thirty years before developing cancer. The doctors first noticed it in his bones, but they told him that true bone cancer is rare.

Usually, when cancer is found in the bones, it has spread there from some other part of the body. Sure enough, his had spread from his lungs.

He had been arm wrestling his nephew when a bone in his arm suddenly snapped. He had to be hospitalized for a long time, because he could have broken his bones very easily. Sadly, he didn’t make it. The lung cancer took him over and made him struggle for every breath in his last days.

OeKc05
Post 1

For about two years, I have been having pain across my sternum. I can feel lumps that are very tender, but they are a good distance above the breasts.

I have no idea what these are, but I go in once a year for a checkup, and my doctor has never seen any red flags in my blood. Honestly, I forget to mention this chest tenderness while I’m there, because I only notice it when I touch the area.

It does concern me a bit, but I think that the yearly tests I have would show if it were anything cancerous. I have complained before to my doctor about fatigue, but she didn’t seem to think it was cause for concern. She tested my thyroid levels and they were fine, so I don’t know what’s going on, if anything.

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