After months of neck and shoulder pain, my aunt just found out her symptoms are caused by Pancoast tumors. What is this?

Pancoast tumors were first reported and named by Dr. Pancoast in 1924. The tumors are located in the upper part of the lungs. Pancoast disease is a form of lung cancer. It is treatable if caught soon enough. The downside is that the patient usually doesn't have any symptoms until the tumors spread outside the lungs.

Neck and shoulder pain can occur when the tumors extend into the nearby tissues and put pressure on the nerves to the neck and shoulder. Sometimes the ribs and diaphragm are affected. There may also be joint swelling and skin and nailbed changes.

Make sure your aunt reports any changes she notices to her doctor. For the best possible results, treatment should not be delayed.