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Radiation caused COPD 13yrs later

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2011

I am a surviver of Hodgkins 13 1/2 yrs ago. had chemo and radiation.
Have been fine with little side effects abut all in all have a great life.. ( theres hope for everyone out there!) I was just diagnosed with emphazyma((COPD) from my radiation treatments, im a non smoker. Dr having hard time because my case is different from the normal copd people. Hs anyone ever had this or has heard about a survivor having this.. I knew they said it could be a possibility far down the road but to me this isnt what i pictured. looking to find a good dr that would treat me with understanding of this matter. also allergies got worse after my treatments and i am allergic to the normal albuteral treatments..
any insight would be appreiciated.
Still doing well..still enjoying my family.. again- there's hope.. DOn't ever loose that to any new diagnosed people taht may be reading this! :)
also a heavyness comes peridically on the side of my chest up top left side. any ideas??
anyone have it??

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2011

I just googled COPD and Radiation and your questions came up. I was just diagnosed with COPD with similar symptoms, and the heavy chest. I went through chemotherapy and radiation almost twenty five years ago for Hodgkins Lymphoma. I don't think I was told about the possible chance of COPD, but they may not have known back then.

I do not know anything yet that could help you, but I pray you found the treatment that works best for you. Please let me know how things are working out for you.

bluerose's picture
Posts: 1103
Joined: Jul 2009

I had non hodgkins 25 years ago and total body rads and have been fighting respiratory issues for years after it all. My docs were leary of saying it was treatment induced, as they were with lots of my side effects, but one by one they are seeing it in more patients. Sometimes we just don't present in the same way others would who didn't have our treatments.

I was diagnosed with chronic respiratory infections but still have a recurrent phlegm issue and every now and then I cough up a 'plug' which is accumulated phlegm that doesn't move along so sits in one spot til it gets infected then you have to go on antibiotics. Over the years it has gotten a bit better but it's still a pattern for me.

One respirologist said that what happened is that the radiation burned off the cilia in the respiratory system so the body couldn't move phlegm along and out as it should but over the years some has grown back. I used to get constant infections too and he said it was cause the cilia in my nose was burned off in radiation too so again no filter for bacteria flying up my nose. Made sense to me. I could never feel nose hairs for years but now I can just start to feel them and sure enough the infection rate is less, still there but less.

Like you said though, for those newbies who might be reading this, keep the faith, no two people are the same in cancers or treatments and today they are trying to limit exposure way more than back when I was treated.

All the best and remember, you aren't alone Lees, many of us have the same after effects, you can tell that first doctor that - it isn't just you.



Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi! I had Hodgkins in 1973...I was 12 years old...I had lots of chemo and when masses were found in my lungs in 1974, I got lots of radiation.  I now...40 years later...have been recently diagnosed with COPD.  It is frustrating as this is something I least expected to get.  I just joined the Cancer Survivors tonight as I am trying to learn more about COPD and the other cancers survivors have had to deal with.  I had bone cancer (MFH) in 1997 and thyroid in 2011.  Basically I am feeling tired.  Wish you all well. Take care.

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