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gayleyr
Posts: 52
Joined: May 2001

Do radiation treatments make you more susceptible to bronchial infections since your lungs are in the field of treatment - or is it the fact that our immune systems stay suppressed for a while. I have a cough that I can't get rid of - the dr. says its viral.

inkblot
Posts: 705
Joined: Jul 2001

Hi Gayleyr:

Was it your radiation dr. who said that you have a virus? Did he/she order any chest x-rays to rule out pneumonia, etc.?

My radiation oncologist told me that I'd lose
2-4% of my lung capacity on the irridated side. Said it's unavoidable. That small amount of reduction shouldn't be a problem though as we still have about 96-98% of our lung not effected. Not a big price, considering the potential benefit.

Additionally, my pulmonologist told me that I may get a bit of "radiation pnuemonitis" near the end of, or just after treatment...says it is not uncommon. He said the irraditated part of the lung gets pneumonia but that it responds well to treatment. I haven't had that thus far and just finished my last treatment yesterday. I did have a bout of bronchitis earlier in my treatment...my allergies flared up and I ignored it, thinking it would improve on its own. When I began a low grade fever, I saw my lung dr. and he prescribed antibiotics for 10 days and it cleared up completely. (I've had mild asthma for years so just an ordinary cold can easily go into my lungs and quickly become bronchitis if I don't call my dr. right away and get medicines to prevent it.)

You may want to see your family dr. or a lung specialist. If it does happen to be
pneumonitis, (would be evident on a chest x-ray) you may need some kind of antibiotics to treat it properly, or just to find out exactly what's going on in there.

Feel better and keep us posted.

Love, light and laughter,
Inkblot

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Hi Gayle,

I agree with the above. My radiation oncologist said SOMETIMES the lung is affected - mild pneumonitis - 3-6 months later in 10 - 20 % of patients. The percentage figures I got from the internet.

My doctor told me that I would know this by a COUGH and maybe shortness of breath but it was not permanent. The lung would heal but he would want to know this. He did not go into treatment at that time probably saving time if not needed!

I finished radiation Sept. 24 - six weeks - on the left side.

Good Luck, Jean

24242
Posts: 1417
Joined: Mar 2001

Gayle could be for a couple reasons one you have mentioned. Your immune system is compromised and one is vulnerable, so to speak. Stay on it , don't let doctor's forget yo have it. Tell them how you feel about it. After a month or so get louder obviously they haven't been listening.
I had a cough to and irritated throat for sometime. It is a side affect. Very dry cough if I remember correctly. Deep.
Hope your cough subsides soon.
Tara

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