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Northville, MI
A 52-year-old female asked:

My friend has 4th stage breast cancer, her lungs are filling up with tumors, why wouldn't her docs give her an oxygen bottle to use whenever needed?

3 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joel Bessmer
Internal Medicine 28 years experience
Unclear: Oxygen would only be helpful if her oxygen levels are low. This is easily checked at the md's office and it may be that even though your friend has multiple metastasis, she does not have low oxygen levels.
Dr. Bahman Daneshfar
Radiation Oncology 33 years experience
As Dr. Bessmer stated it can be checked to see if Oxygen is low by use a pulse oximeter (you just place it on the finger at get a reading) It should be in the mid to high 90's. Otherwise Oxygen bottles or generators can be ordered by your doctor. Sometimes the O2 level is good resting but walking it gets real low so it can be tested when walking as well.
Feb 26, 2012
Dr. Nancy Mckinney
Hematology and Oncology 19 years experience
Depends: Many patients with lung problems or cancer in their lungs can still get enough oxygen in their blood without supplemental oxygen. They may feel short of breath, but if the oxygen level is not low, giving more oxygen is not necessarily the answer. For most insurances to pay for home oxygen, oxygen saturations must be documented at less than 88%.
Dr. Nancy Mckinney
Hematology and Oncology 19 years experience
Provided original answer
Part of it is insurance coverage. Even if her doc wants to give her oxygen, he or she can't get it covered unless the oxygen saturation (O2 sat) is 88% or less. One thing that may help is getting an O2 sat while she is walking. It commonly goes down even if it is normal at rest. Hospice/palliative care programs also can supply oxygen for comfort, regardless of O2 sat. I hope she feels better.
Feb 28, 2012
Dr. Marci Dietrich
Bariatrics 41 years experience
Patient Comfort: I don't know. The importance is keeping her comfortable. If oxygen makes her comfortable---so be it. There is no medical reason not to. Does she have hospice involved? They are very knowledgable in end of life care for the patient, family, and friends. If the docs will not cooperate find new physcians. If she is continuing her treatment; comfort is still key for a patient.
Dr. Marci Dietrich
Bariatrics 41 years experience
Provided original answer
treat the patient; not the labs---i know that is not the way of insurances ----i don't care--if she feels better with oxygen-let her have it.
Feb 28, 2012
Dr. Marci Dietrich
Bariatrics 41 years experience
Provided original answer
There are so many ways to help her and keep her comfortable. She is lucky to have you looking out for her.
Feb 28, 2012

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Last updated May 5, 2016

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