|2nd Cancer Opinion
provides opinions regarding Breast, lung, colon,
prostate and ovarian cancers, lymphomas, melanomas, and other solid
|*1st 1/2 hour
session is at no additional charge.
Side Effects of
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Incontinence - Urinary
Dryness of the Mouth
Fluid and Electrolyte Imbalances
Nausea & Vomiting
Spinal Cord Compression
Shortness of Breath
Sleep Problems (Insomnia/Oversleeping)
|Risk of Pleural Effusion
Symptom and Description Pleural
effusions are a common problem in cancer, although pleural
effusions can arise in people with other illnesses. A pleural
effusion occurs when fluid collects in the space around the
lungs. When this happens, the lungs cannot fully expand, and
breathing may become difficult and painful. Pain, shortness of
breath, and lung infections can occur if an effusion increases
in amount or is left untreated.
Learning Needs The most important thing you can do is to
learn the symptoms of pleural effusions. You should report any
of these symptoms to your doctor or your nurse:
- Shortness of breath
- The need to breathe fast
- A dry cough
- Chest pain, which may be slight or severe. The pain may be
worse when you lie on one side or the other.
A small number of patients never have any symptoms.
Management If you have any of these symptoms, your doctor
may want to see you. The doctor will order a chest X-ray film to
see if there is fluid on the lung. If fluid is seen or
suspected, a thoracentesis is done. This test removes fluid from
the space around your lung. Many times, people breathe easier
when the fluid is removed.
If you are short of breath or if breathing is difficult or
painful, there are things you can do to help yourself breathe
- Some positions allow your lungs to better expand. Sit
upright, lean forward, and rest your forearms on a table.
- Sleep with the head of the bed raised or use pillows to
raise your upper body. Some people are more comfortable
sleeping in a recliner.
- Save your energy. Do chores early in the day (bathing,
stair-climbing). Take time to rest and relax.
- The doctor may prescribe oxygen to help you breathe.
- Take your pain medication. Some medicines help to relax
you and help you breathe easier.
- There is no special diet to follow. Small frequent meals
(up to 6 meals per day) might be easier for you and may tire
- Drink 2 to 3 liters of fluids per day, unless your doctor
or nurse tells you differently.
Follow-up The fluid is sent to the lab for more tests.
The doctor will talk to you about further treatment when those
results are in. Let your doctor or nurse know if the symptoms
are getting worse.