The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Hi I am prasun Mukherjee from India , in the month of may 2016 I have been dignosed of NSCLC ( Adenocarcinoma) of right lung. I have already given 5 cycles of chemotherapy ( 4 cycles with pemgem + carbo & 5th cycle with only pemgem) the pet scan showed reduction in tumour size & lumph nodes after third chemotherapy, but recently after 5th chemo which was on 8th of September 2016 my coughing has increased a lot and occasionally mild traces of blood is observed in sputum. Kindly advise regarding the reasons for increased coughing and occasional mild traces of blood in sputum.

9 Replies

Hi Mulherjee,

I am sorry you have increased coughing. I think the only sensible thing to do is to return to you doctor for a diagnosis of why this has happened. Sorry I'm not of more help.


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Thanks Lorna,just came back after visiting my doctor. He has checked my spo2 and also checked my blood platelets count every tests are normal . According to my doctor even reduction in tumor size leads to blood in sputum. It is only worry some if breathlessness persists, which is not there in my case. For excessive coughing he has advised me to use nebuliser twice a day. Pl suggest if anybody has any other advise.



Well that really is excellent news. I'm glad you went to put your mind at rest.


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Coughing can be a side effect of radiotherapy.You should discuss this with your GP.He will ask you if you are experiencing any breathlessness but I am sure you aren't as you haven't mentioned it.Blood stained sputum is fairly common and your GP will check for any causes e.g chest infection or low platelets.

Kind regards,

All the team at Roy Castle


Thanks team the coughing occurs only when I am walking or doing some physical activity , it stops as soon as I sit or lie down, what can be the reason for this coughing? I am bit confused. Pl advise. Regards prasun


Hello Prasun68,

Overall, cough in a patient with cancer who is undergoing chemotherapy can mean many different things. The cough could be an insignificant symptom that will pass, or it could be a sign of more serious illness. For that reason, it is best to have such symptoms evaluated by your Doctor, or the oncologist treating you.

A persistent cough may be caused by many things some of these include

A long-term respiratory tract infection, such as chronic bronchitis. A cough can be a sign of a developing respiratory infection, especially if it is accompanied by fever.


Smoking or being exposed to an environment that is smoky.

Being in an area of environmental air pollution.

Asthma – this also usually causes other symptoms, such as wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) – where the throat becomes irritated by leaking stomach acid.

A prescribed medicine, such as an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor), which is used to treat high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease

You should keep a record of any triggers that start the coughing and go back to your Gp to make sure that there are no signs of infection.

Kind regards the Roy Castle helpline.


Thanks team my oncologist has started a new medicine, yesterday I received my sixth chemo and I had a detailed discussion with my oncologist regarding my treatment he informed that after my fourth chemo he has started giving me maintenance chemotherapy and it will continue till my body accepts it. Regards prasun


After 4 chemos I have started getting maintenance chemo in a cycle of 21 days 2 maintenance chemos has been already given and next checkup/ chemo is due on 20th of October 2016. Can you all please educate me regarding this maintenance chemo? Why it is given ? & how long it will continue. Regards prasun


Hello Parsun68

Maintenance therapy is therapy given after the initial cycles of chemotherapy to keep the cancer in check. This is a relatively new concept in lung cancer care.

It can be used for the following reasons.

To avoid or slow the cancer’s return after initial treatment. Maintenance therapy can help keep the cancer from coming back.

To slow the growth of advanced cancer after initial treatment. In this situation, maintenance therapy is not used to cure the cancer, but to control further spread and can lengthen a person’s life.

you can continue on maintenance therapy for a prolonged period of time.

Maintenance therapy often uses traditional chemotherapy drugs. But doctors give lower doses than when you first had treatment. Maintenance therapy may include a drug from the first treatment plan. Or, it may include another drug or drug combination.

A possible downside to this continued treatment is that people may not get a break from treatment side effects. Some doctors now recommend maintenance therapy.

Hope that this information is of some help to you

Kind regards Roy Castle Helpline


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