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Facial Pain as the Presenting Symptom of Lung Carcinoma With Normal Chest Radiograph

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Facial pain is a rare presenting symptom of nonmetastatic lung carcinoma. Referred pain from tumor invasion and compression of the vagus nerve was the presumed cause in the 31 cases published to date. We report 2 additional cases having an unusual clinical feature, namely, both had radiographic evidence of malignancy absent on initial chest films. Severe facial pain in both cases was explained by pulmonary carcinoma detected only through further investigations. From these cases follows the notable conclusion that referred facial pain of malignant origin can occasionally precede the appearance of neoplasm on routine chest films. It is therefore important for physicians to be familiar with the clinical features of this syndrome in order to choose appropriate further diagnostic testing in patients who may be at risk.
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Keywords: chest radiograph; facial pain; lung cancer; vagus nerve

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Community Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. 2: Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.

Publication date: 2003-05-01

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