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Breathlessness during chemo

Posts: 21
Joined: Aug 2010


Has anyone experienced breathlessness due to chemo treatments?

My mum has MMMT with lung metastises. Recent CT scan after 3 chemos indicated much improvement of the lung metastises. Oncologist says the breathlessness is due to general weakness (as she lost >10kg), rather than anything to do with the cancer itself.

Has anyone else experienced this? Can this be because of low haemoglobin? I am really hoping this is a chemo side-effect and not any other complication.

Waiting for replies.

Posts: 99
Joined: Feb 2010

I'm sorry you haven't received any replies. I wish I had an answer to your question but, sadly, I don't. Perhaps the oncologist is right and it is just general weakness. Has she been any better since you lasted posted? What chemo meds is she getting?

Posts: 21
Joined: Aug 2010

Breathlessness is reduced - looks like it was a side effect of the strong painkillers she was taking for her back pain.
The oncologist (rather his assistant) did scare us at one point asking us to get ECG & 2D echo done immediately. The results are ok. There is very little (6.7mm) pericardial effusion but the cardiologist thinks it will be resolved with chemo, and it's surely not the cause of breathlessness.
I think she just needs to eat well and recuperate, as she is extremely weak.

She is on Carbo-Taxol chemo.

Posts: 99
Joined: Feb 2010

So glad to hear your mum is better. Sorry you had to go through these scares. Sometimes I think the docs don't realize the side effects of some meds.

Again, glad to hear she's better. Keep us posted.

Ro10's picture
Posts: 1579
Joined: Jan 2009

I did not have any breathlessness from chemo, but did have a very rapid heart rate for weeks after the chemo. At times it would go as high as 160, but most of the time was 120 -130. This can lead to breathlessness. I had to go on medicine to lower the heart rate.

You asked if low hemaglobin can cause breatlessness, and yes it can. Generalized weakness can also cause it.

Hope you Mum continues to get a little stronger each day. In peace and caring.

Posts: 21
Joined: Aug 2010

Thanks all for the well wishes... It means a lot.

kkstef's picture
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

A low hemoglobin can definitely cause shortness of breath. About the 4th treatment my hgb was very low and I was having shortness of breath just from walking. Had 2 units of packed cells and was immediately relieved. I was amazed at how fast that works!

Hoping that your Mum is doing much better. She is lucky to have such a caring daughter.

Best to all of you!

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