Back pain is a common problem in rheumatology clinics and has a wide differential diagnosis. Ten young patients are described with the syndrome of persistent back pain, severe enough to prevent sleep, and characteristically eased by sitting forwards, which accompanies malignant retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy. Spinal movements and x rays are typically normal. Repeated thorough examinations are required to detect superficial adenopathy or testicular swellings. Ultrasound scanning usually reveals the nodes, which can also be demonstrated by computed tomographic (CT) scanning. These young patients have a variety of cancers, many of which can be cured, so increased awareness of this syndrome could save lives.
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