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shortness of breath chemo side effect?

tabbyfatgirl1's picture
Posts: 17
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi all, I haven't posted much on this board. My husband started Folfox & Avastin in January, had 5 treatments & developed such severe shortness of breath they stopped chemo. O2 did not help & SATS were good. After PFT's,CXR, scan & Pulmononary consult, everyone finally agreed it must be the Oxaliplatin-even though they didn't want to say it was chemo. Now he's been off chemo for 12 weeks & due to start back next week. During this time he also developed a cellulitis around his stoma (Colostomy). Has anyone else had the side effect of shortness of breath from chemo? Has anyone been off chemo this long & did well starting back? Thank you for any feedback.

John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007


These side effects are less common side effects (occurring in about 10-29%) of patients receiving Avastin:
•Shortness of breath
•High blood pressure
•Weight loss
•Muscle aches and pains

From: http://www.chemocare.com/bio/avastin.asp

Oxaliplatin Infusion Related Side Effects:

•The feeling of difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, jaw
spasm, abnormal tongue sensation and feeling of chest pressure.
This has been reported rarely (<5%). It generally starts within
hours of Oxaliplatin infusion and often occurs upon exposure to
cold. Avoiding exposure to cold (see self care tips below) helps
to prevent this adverse reaction. Future Oxaliplatin infusions
may be given over a longer time frame to help reduce the incidence.

From: http://www.chemocare.com/bio/oxaliplatin.asp

Best of health to you and yours!


tabbyfatgirl1's picture
Posts: 17
Joined: Nov 2011

Thank you John for the info & two websites. Take Care.

mukamom's picture
Posts: 402
Joined: Oct 2010

also had shorness of breath when he was on FOLFRI and Avastin...mentioned it to the onc, who said "can't be the chemo". So lung scans, and other lung tests, stress tests, cardiologists and pulmonologists, and on and on and on. Nothing was ever found. He hasn't been on avastin now for at least 18 mos. Has had no problems with his breathing since. Avastin effects?? Probably.


herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

I had been on Avastin and figured shortness of breath was due to Avastin or else I had lung cancer problems (tend to blame everything on cancer once you get it). My shortness of breath became worse over the months. Finally ended up in ER,barely made it there because I couldn't hardly breath anymore, had to sit down in a chair and watched 3 others beat me to check in because I had to rest to get my breath back. EKG showed heart fine, blood tests showed heart fine, they checked everything out over to heart and every test came back fine, so it was becoming the conclusion it was the Avastin side effects, an excellent ER doctor however decided to keep me and have a heart specialist look, I was admitted and a stress test was given (which I passed just fine)however, they also did a ultrasound and the Dr. pointed out twice that he saw abnormalities. A angiogram was done and a stunt was inserted and the Dr. pointed out that I was EXTREMELY LUCKY that I came in and it was found in time, another day or two, not so lucky if I had waited.
So, just want to point out, not everything is due to side effects or cancer. Have they done an ultrasound of his heart?
My only symptom of the left lower artery closing down was difficulty breathing over a period of months.
Hope it's something simple and his breathing improves.
Winter Marie

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