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J Chiropr Med. 2011 Sep;10(3):185-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2010.10.006. Epub 2011 May 6.

Back pain and leg complaints that revealed non-small cell carcinoma: a case study.

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Assistant Professor, Academic Health Center Clinic, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, IA.



The purpose of this case study is to describe the clinical presentation of a patient with a chief complaint of low back and leg pain with no prior diagnosis of lung cancer.


A 48-year-old man with a history of back pain presented to a chiropractic office with a complaint of low back and left leg pain.


Abnormal examination and radiographic findings were discovered. The patient was immediately referred to the pulmonologist for co-management. Through the use of advanced imaging and biopsy, stage 4 lung cancer was diagnosed.


Low back pain recurrence in an established patient should constitute a reevaluation of the problem. The cause cannot be assumed to be musculoskeletal in origin even though this may have been the case with the initial complaint. Metastatic disease should be considered with any type of recurrent low back pain.

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