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Questions about Shortness of Breath

Andrea B.

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My mom experienced some shortness of breath after having a reaction to Carboplatin (about 4-5 weeks ago). Her last chemo treatment was only Taxol. Her shortness of breath seemed to improve, but over the past couple of weeks it has really come back. She was admitted to the hospital overnight and given IV antibiotics and breathing treatments. She thought this was helping, but it hasn't. She received a CT scan and her oncologist found no blood clots or changes since July. Tomorrow she goes in for a PET scan.

I scanned the boards for previous posts on shortness of breath and know it can have different causes. I am wondering if anyone can help me with specific questions I should be asking her oncologist to help figure out the source. I am praying the PET scan comes back with good news!

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Ask about radiation pneumonitis. If she has had a recent CT scan, there might be a "ground glass" appearance in the radiated part of her lung. Radiation pneumonitis appears anywhere from 1 to 6 months (or maybe longer) after the end of radiation. In my case, one morning I woke up so short of breath I was having to catch my breath after walking 12 feet or so from my bed to my bathroom. I found that the breathing treatments didn't do anything for me either, but steroids have made a huge difference.


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I'm sorry your Mom is having such a rough time of it. There is also something called "Radiation Recall". It's my understanding that what happens is after having had radiation treatments and recovering from them, if one has a regular xray, or a scan, or goes on chemo they can experience the same symptoms they had while undergoing radiation treatments. I wish I had more information on the subject, but I can't find my files right now. I do know that the one of the symptoms of radiation recall can be extreme shortness of breath.

Hoping that things calm down very soon.

Fay A.

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