The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Breathing problems after radiotherapy

My father was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer six weeks ago. Between CT scans the cancer has spread quickly and the tumours in his chest and buttocks have doubled in size. He has had three lots of radiotherapy and two more to go (5 days total). He is having difficulty breathing now and appears to be gasping. We had a visit from a palliative nurse today and she is the only person we have seen at home. I read that breathlessness is a side effect of radiotherapy. Is it normal to be so out of breath while sleeping? I am trying not to panic!

2 Replies

Hi Cagsie

Unfortunately the breathlessness comes hand in hand with lung cancer especially as the tumours grow. Get his McMillan nurse to assess him for oxygen therapy this may ease his breathing, it helped with my mum for a short while.

Dont worry in silence, if you have any questions ask his nurse, they are brilliant. There's not much they cant tell you and if you want them to be honest they will.

Take care and best wishes to your dad xx


Ask for an assessment when he has his next radiotherapy, or speak to your lung cancer specialist nurse, it could be many things, however need to rule out pneumonia is which is a lung inflammation that can occur from radiotherapy


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