Lung cancer survivors suffer further from dyspnea or shortness of breath, say scientists.
Study author Marc B. Feinstein described the prevalence and severity of dyspnea in long-term lung cancer survivors and provided specific factors associated with the condition that may help clinicians target post-treatment rehabilitation strategies.
Feinstein and fellow researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School surveyed 342 early-stage lung cancer survivors, who had their tumor removed within one to six years of the survey.
Within this population of cancer survivors, dypsnea was found in 205 individuals (60 percent), nearly three-fold the number of patients who presented with dyspnea before their surgery (21 percent).
Additional findings showed that factors associated with long-term dyspnea in cancer survivors included presence of dyspnea before lung cancer surgery, reduced diffusion capacity (lung's ability to transfer oxygen into the blood) and lack of physical activity.
"The identification of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with dyspnea is perhaps the most significant finding," said Feinstein.
"This implies that strategies which improve physical activity or relieve depressive symptoms may results in improved breathlessness," he added.
The findings were published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.