Pain in upper left quadrant

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About 3 months ago i started getting a pain just under my left ribs, It wasnt severe just dull and achy but constant. After about 4 weeks and no change i went to my GP who felt around my abdomen and said they couldnt feel anything of concern and sent me on my way. another 3 weeks passed and the pain got quite intense so i went to A  and E again was examined by the doctor who also said he could not feel anything to worry about. Since that i noticed what looked like quite a large lump/bulge just under the left rib exact;y where the pain was so i once again went to the doctor who still could not feel anything! I myself can defianatly see the bulge but when i feel there too i cannot feel anything like a mass etc. I have since been referred for a chest x ray and an abdominal ultrasound both came back fine i have also had 3 blood tests which again came back fine. i know the pain is there so i am not crazy and now im terrified i have cancer and the doctors are missing it!! I have no other symptoms apart from the dull ache i do poke my ribs alot could this be an inflammation of some sort? Any advice appreciated. I am a 31 yr old female!

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  • Posted

    Hello Stephanie,

    First of all, you should take the blood results and the imaging performed as a good sign. Many people, including myself, have jump into horrible conclusions without rationalizing the situation. I too had pain in my stomach which has passed, but a dull tense feeling is still felt in the area (for the past 4 weeks). I too thought I have cancer and went through speciallists who did blood work and CT scanning and a whole questionaire to eliminate that possibility. I still have that feeling but try to keep it positive and just see it goes away with time.

    My point in this is that you should first rationalize and think why do you think you have cancer? first of all you are young, mostly cancer is an old age disease. Cases coming up in young individuals are usually have to do with some genetic relationship, so you should first check if your family had cases of cancer, if so, at what age (suppose to show up in early ages) and then how close that person is to you. Also, having cancer cases in the family doesnt mean you will have cancer, so dont try to scare yourself.

    Second, try to do some small research and check your symptoms, usually pain could be caused by so many things, and only having pain doesnt mean that there is cancer, usually there are multiple symptoms that you should look for when thinking about stuff like that.

    My recommendation is that if you are still feeling bad, do some research, consult with speciallist, and maintain some calm attitude. Like I said, pain could arise from multiple reasons, dont rush to think of the worse since it just not healthy for you mentally.

    Im sure it will go away with time and if needed proper treatment.

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    • Posted


      Thank you for replying, I have researched quite alot and the main reason im fearing cancer is that there is definately a lump/buldge! No history of cancer within the family from that i am aware off but my sister in law has just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 31 so i suppose im anxious due to that. I just find it odd that my rib has this pain and lump and i cannot really see anything online other than cancer that would cause this. The ultrasound and bloodworks and x ray have put my mind a little at rest but you hear so many horror stories of misdiagnosis its hard to keep positve.

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    • Posted

      I understand your concern, and maybe you should look into perhaps having a cyst, or some sort of hernia. though this should be noticed on the imaging you had, sometimes doctors make mistakes too.

      Also, try to see and monitor whether the pain/bulge increases/decreases, what might be the reason for those changes? is it the mood you are in, or is it something that you ate?

      It is important to monitor it, but try to avoid thinking about bad things, since doctors would inform you and start a treatment if you had something. also, sister in law is not direct (blood line) family, so you shouldnt consider that. cancer in the family examples would be siblings getting cancer at young age, or parents or grandparent getting cancer at young age.

      hope this helps,

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  • Posted

    Hi Stephanie,

    Do you have any other symptoms appart from the pain?

    Stools ok? Integration? Abdominal cramps? Heart burn? Acid reflux? Can you eat food ok?


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    • Posted

      Hi Gem

      Thanks for replying, No not really any other symptoms i do however suffer from IBS so i get carmps etc due to that. I have suffered with IBS for many years now and i have never had this pain or a lump/buldge before now! 


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  • Posted

    Hi Steph. I suffer from ibs-d, colitis, fructose & bile acid malabsorption, all largely controlled now with meds & diet. There is a condition called consochondritis which is inflammation around the ribs. I have had this before which creates the pain you describe. Also, I still get mild pain randomlybelow the left breast/left rib area after i have eaten stodgy foods or a large portioned meal & a visible "bulge" in that area. It's also worse if i feel bloated & take my bra off for comfort after a while of breast drooping more on ribcage due to no bra on(sorry no other way to describe this!!). this never happens on right side. Before all my diagnosis's & appropriate treatment, I used to have cancer in the back of my mind, but now i have got to know what triggers these symptoms described above, & have had regular bloods done & other tests like scans, scopes etc & under gastro consultant at hosp, I no longer worry about this. I think it is not knowing or lack of investigation that creates the worry in us. Once you know, you stop worrying so much. Hope this helps. x
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  • Posted

    Please read my note to Alex. I feel like I need to shout this from the rooftops! My son and uncle (no blood relation) suffered HORRIBLY with undiagnosed abdominal pain.  My uncle just had an ERCP and I am scrambling to get my son in to have it done!! 
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