Treatment of Dyspnea in Cancer Patients
June 01, 2002
A 54-year-old female seeks medical attention with a complaint of worsening exertional dyspnea of 3 to 4 weeks’ duration. She has a history of small-cell lung carcinoma, first diagnosed 3 months previously, and has had an excellent response to treatment, which included both chemotherapy and external-beam radiation. Consistent with her cancer diagnosis, she has a 30 pack-year history of cigarette smoking, and her pulmonary function tests indicate mild airflow obstruction, slight hyperinflation on lung volumes, and a mildly decreased diffusion capacity. In addition to her dyspnea with exertion, the patient describes symptoms of an intermittently productive cough, fatigue, and, recently, a poor appetite.