Some patients experience shortness of breath during cancer treatment. This can be caused by fluid in the lungs, an infection, or anemia. It is important to let the doctor know as soon as possible if this side effect develops.
Call the clinic or hospital right away if any of these symptoms occur:
- A fever of 100.5 ºF or higher (especially if in combination with any of these symptoms)
- Coughing up blood or mucus
- Feeling out of breath with minimal activity
- Feeling short of breath while at rest
- New or ongoing cough
- Tightness or wheezing while breathing
- Trouble breathing when laying flat
- Uncontrollable cough
What patients can do:
- Avoid contact with any person who has symptoms of a cold or respiratory infection such as fever, sneezing, runny nose, or coughing.
- Do not smoke or be around secondhand smoke.
- Exercise daily if your doctor approves. This may help expand the lungs and improve blood flow. Exercise specialists in the Wellness-Survivorship Center can create an exercise plan tailored to each patient's ability and needs. The center offers programs and classes for patients and their families.
- Sit upright or walk around as much as possible during the day. The lungs work better when in an upright position.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizing gel to avoid infections.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing.