I completed 33 radiation sessions on May 20th for stage T1mic (DCIS with less than 1mm of microinvasion). About 6 weeks after radiation I developed costochondritis/pleurisy along with shortness of breath. Treated with motrin for about 2 months on and off. Had CT Scan of chest to rule out recurrence. Had a 2nd CT scan to rule out pulmonary empbolism. Both scans came back normal for which I thank God every day. Now the pain (from the costochondritis/pleurisy) is very mild (a 1-2 on a scale of 1-10) but the shortness of breath continues and at times it seems like it got worse. Presently I Am scheduled to see on pulmonologist on Oct. 10th. Most days I have shortness of breath all day long but on occasion I may have a pretty decent day. Could this shortness of breath be due to tight chest muscles from radiation or Lung damage from radiation? I am getting frustrated and want to move on with my life.
Hi. It is possible for the shortness of breath to result from damage to the lungs caused by the radiation (called radiation pneumonitis). You do need to see a pulmonologist and have some lung function tests done to verify this. Radiotherapy can decrease hemoglobin levels, and you can also have shortness of breath if your hemoglobin continues to be low after the radiation treatment. This is one other thing which may need to be investigated.
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