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Doctor insights on: Scar Tissue In Lung After Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer

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I got a scar tissue in lung after radiation therapy for breast cancer. No one told me it could happen. What should I do?

I got a scar tissue in lung after radiation therapy for breast cancer. No one told me it could happen. What should I do?

Very rare, but...: ...Well-recognized complication of breast radiation therapy (of course, when you are that "one in a million", that doesn't help). Modern techniques are designed to maximize rx to the breast & minimize effects on the heart and lungs. Your radiation oncologist certainly should have discussed this with you pre-treatment--informed consent is a necessary part of any rx regimen. ...Read more

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Dr. Michael Swor
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Lung (Definition)

Deoxygenated blood enters the lungs from the right side of the heart and travels to the lungs. When you inspire, oxygen flows into the lungs, transverses the capilliares and attaches to hemoglobin down a gradient. At the same time, co2 diffuses into the capilaries and is expelled with exhalation. Oxygen rich blood then flows to the left side of the heart and into the ...Read more


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1st stage breast cancer was removed in march, had radiation therapy(30day), now taking tamoxifen, but coughing phlegm now, can it be a transfer to lungs?

1st stage breast cancer was removed in march, had radiation therapy(30day), now taking tamoxifen, but coughing phlegm now, can it be a transfer to lungs?

Not likely: It is more likely to have bronchitis or pneumonia in the lungs especially following treatment (radiation) for early breast cancer if you develop a cough with phlegm. Check with your doctor who might have you get a chest x-ray. ...Read more

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Dr. Michael Swor
Board Certified, Gynecology
34 years in practice
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Treating Scarring (Checklist)

If you smoke, stop. Smoking prevents healthy skin from healing
Once
See a dermatologist to see what options are available
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Find out if you're a candidate for cosmetic scar treatments
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Can radiation therapy treat breast cancer that has come back in the lung?

Can radiation therapy treat breast cancer that has come back in the lung?

Usually not: Breast cancer that has come back in the lung usually requires chemotherapy. It depends on the type of breast cancer, how quickly it is growing, and whether there are multiple spots or just one spot. Breast cancer in the lung means microscopic cancer has spread through the body, so a whole-body treatment like chemo (or hormone-blocking therapy) is necessary for best results. ...Read more

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Could radiation treatments for breast cancer cause scar tissue in the lungs?

Could radiation treatments for breast cancer cause scar tissue in the lungs?

Yes: This was a more common occurrence before modern tangential fields that avoid the lung. However, if the lung receives significant radiation, then pulmonary fibrosis can develop. ...Read more

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Treating a Lung Nodule (Checklist)

Recognize that most nodules are benign scars, not malignant
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Remember to obtain any previous images possibly showing nodule
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Research whether it's best to follow the nodule or to biopsy it
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Board Certified, Gynecology
34 years in practice
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After effects of radiation therapy for breast cancer?

Side effects include: Acute effects include erythema hyperpigmentation of skin, moist desquamation of skin long term effects of radiation therapy for breast cancer include: radiation fibrosis of lung lymphedema of the affected side upper extremity myocardial injury hypothyroidism brachial plexus injury risk of second neoplasm (radiation induced malignancy). ...Read more

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How soon after finishing radiation therapy for breast cancer should I get a follow-up mammogram?

How soon after finishing radiation therapy for breast cancer should I get a follow-up mammogram?

4 to 6 months: The side effects of the skin need to heal and breast heals and any scarring internally improve. That takes 4 to 6 months. Even then that is the baseline mammogram and surgery and radiation changes will be seen. Then future mammograms will show these changes are improving. ...Read more

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Treating a Collapsed Lung (Checklist)

Go to the ER for x-rays and initial treatment
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Use high flow oxygen
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Could radiation therapy for breast cancer be giving me a cough?

Could radiation therapy for breast cancer be giving me a cough?

Yes: There is a small amount of lung radiated that usually causes no problems. But sometimes this amount is large enough to cause a pneumonitis that can cause a cough. You need an exam and a lung x-ray to determine if this is the cause. ...Read more

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Radioactive (Definition)

Radioactivity refers to the particles which are emitted from nuclei as a result of nuclear instability. Because the nucleus experiences the intense conflict between the two strongest forces in nature, it should not be surprising that there are many nuclear isotopes which are unstable and emit some kind of radiation. The most common types of radiation are called alpha, ...Read more


Tissue (Definition)

The body is composed of tissue that are classically described as beiing derived from three basic embyonic layers known as the endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm that then differentiate into the structures that compose the body such as skin, soft tissues, bone, muscle, organs, etc. Stem cells are not differentiated and have the potential to ...Read more


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Dr. Michael Swor
Board Certified, Gynecology
34 years in practice
3M people helped
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