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Bleomycin Lung Toxicity

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  • Bleomycin Lung Toxicity

    Hello everybody my name is Bo Tidmore (34 years old). In October of 2006 I had a left orchiectomy and CT scans later found 1 slightly enlarged node near my left renal vein (measuring 1.6 x 1.86 I think). My wife and I talked to the radiologist and he recommended we talk to a chemotherapist and pick our poison. My wife wanted me to take the the chemo.

    I just finished treatment June 30 2007 (3xBEP). Pretty rough stuff. Got the numb fingers and feet, ringing ears, and no hair. These things I can handle. My question to this group is has anyone had experience with bleomycin lung toxicity. This has got me really worried. After the first cycle I had developed a dry little cough. Told my doctor, he listened to my lungs and we marched on. After the second cycle, the cough was a little worse but we marched on. Its been several weeks since treatment 3 and non stop coughing (very dry). I went to a pulmonologist before chemo and had my lungs tested. My oncologist sent me back and there was some lung changes after chemo. The pulmonologist said there is probably some fibrosis and a CT confirmed this. He put me on steroids to control the cough. I'm on day four and still a little cough. Today I had to go and pick up a van load of computer monitors and thought I was going to pass out I was so out of breath. I'm really worried because I used to be very active. Can anyone share there experience with this or am I alone. Hopefully something encouraging!

  • #2
    Bo, take a look at posts by Russell's Mom (Sharon). Russell had bleo tox and just got a great report that this lungs are improving. My son had a similar experience to the extent that they stopped the bleo in round three. His PFT at one year post chemo showed 100% lung capacity and he is doing fine. Dianne
    Spouse: I/O 8/80; embryonal, seminoma, teratoma; RPLND 9/80 - no reoccurrence - HRT 8/80; bladder cancer 11/97; reoccurrence: 4X
    Son: I/O 11/04; embryonal, teratoma; VI; 3XBEP; relapse 5/08; RPLND 6/18/08 - path: mature teratoma


    • #3
      I'll have to let others share experiences with bleomycin, but I'm glad to welcome you to the forums, Bo. Congratulations on completing chemotherapy!
      Scott, [email protected]
      right inguinal orchiectomy 6/5/2003 > nonseminoma, stage I > surveillance > L-RPLND 6/24/2005 for recurrence, suspected teratoma but found seminoma, stage II > chylous ascites until 9/2005 > surveillance and "all clear" since

      Your donation funds Livestrong services for people facing cancer now. Please sponsor my ride!


      • #4

        Unfortunately I have quite a bit of experience with the effects of bleomycin on pulmonary function. After 4xBEP, a pulmonary function test indicated that my lungs were functioning at about 50-60% of pre-chemo levels. I had a constant cough, could not take deep breaths, and was chronically short of breath. CT scans and X-rays indicated extensive irritation of my lungs. In summary, it was just a miserable time.

        My lungs slowly and imperceptibly began to improve and by about 3-4 months after my last chemo cycle were about back to normal. Now, 21 months post-chemo, I'm doing fine. I can't run up and down stairs anymore, but heck, I'm 50 years old.

        In my case, it was just a matter of letting my body heal. My pulmonologist considered steroids but I had taken so many steroids during chemo that I vetoed the idea. I have a feeling that you'll do just fine.
        Left I/O 6/24/05
        100% Embryonal Cell Carcinoma, Stage III
        4xBEP August - October 2005
        Surveillance since Nov. 2005


        • #5
          It gets better

          Bleo took a lot out of me as well. Very gradually you should regain better pulmonary function. My dr.s say i'll never get back to pre chemo levels, but will not notice a difference in everyday activity. At one point, I was unable to walk upstairs without having to lay down on the bed and rest (huffing and puffing).

          You should see slight, slow, steady improvements as weeks go by
          Stage III Non-Seminoma- 7/11/06
          Right I/O 7/12/06
          Completed 4x BEP 11/06
          Bi-Lateral RPLND (Dr. Shenifeld)- 11/27/06
          Surveillance since then

          When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.
          Lance Armstrong.


          • #6
            Hi Bo, my brother did 4x's BEP. He developed a cough too. He had some effects on his lungs from the bleo, but in time it got better. For my brother, they tried a cough medicine, then an asthma inhaler, none helped. But you will gradually get better, along with the numb fingers and toes and all that other S*$T that comes with this horrible disease, but your on the road to recovery, so best of luck.
            Brother Diag. 10/05 Non-Sem.
            Right I/O 11/05
            4XBEP 8/06
            RPLND 12/06
            2X VIP 1/22/07
            Only completed 1 Rd.


            • #7
              Thank you all so much for feedback!

              I'd like to thank everybody for the reassuring comments. You know its kind of funny. The two times I've actually been told that I had cancer I never really became very anxious however, the side effects cause me to worry about becoming "Different than I was". It sure feels good to talk to people who have been through this. I don't talk much about it to family and friends. Although they have been very supportive and concerned, I just didn't want to complain all of the time. So mostly throughout the chemo I didn't answer all of the phone calls I was receiving. I was just very listless. Especially during those 5 hour 5 day sessions. I am I every glad thats over!!!


              • #8
                Hi, I'm at work right now, just wanted to let you know I saw your concern. Let me know if you have questions!! Sharon
                Click here to support my LIVESTRONG Challenge with Team LOVEstrong.


                • #9
                  Hi Bo -

                  My husband just finished 3xBEP and 1xEP three weeks ago yesterday - they dropped the Bleo for the last round because his PFT showed lung function was down 24%. They won't use Bleo if you drop down 25% and his doctor said, let's just stop now. Rob has what we jokingly call "chlorine lung" - I don't know if anyone else remembers - when you were little and stayed in the pool all day, if you took a deep breath you would have to cough, you couldn't draw it in as much as usual.

                  So he has that, and he had a much worse cough three weeks ago, dry and annoying (to him, not me!). It's subsided quite a bit but he still has the "chlorine lung" thing. They gave him a spirometer to get ready for surgery in two weeks and I hope that may actually help him strengthen his lungs a bit.

                  Time heals it all, I suppose. We'll just wait and see.
                  Rob and Stacy
                  DX: 3/10/05, AFP: 15,047, L I/O: 3/28/05, Yolk sac tumor & teratoma, Stage IIIC, 3xBEP & 1xEP: 4/4/07 - 6/25/07, AFP: 14, RPLND 8/10/07, w. left kidney removed. 10/19/07, AFP: 1.9


                  • #10
                    SLD, Has your husband seen a Pulmonologist? He should be evaluated by special CTs (high resolution) and as well the Pulmonary specialist! I don't mean to scare you, but I would call right away. The toxicity is nothing to take lightly! Russell's Oncologist and the Pulmonologist are working together! Keep in touch, Sharon
                    Click here to support my LIVESTRONG Challenge with Team LOVEstrong.


                    • #11
                      Sharon -

                      No, he hasn't seen a pulmonologist, but nothing was mentioned to us. How much was Russell's lung function down by? Or does that not necessarily play a role in bleo toxicity? I'm not sure what to look out for; Rob's cough is gone for the most part but he gets out of breath if he does anything laborious (like changing my tire yesterday).

                      Thanks for your help.
                      Rob and Stacy
                      DX: 3/10/05, AFP: 15,047, L I/O: 3/28/05, Yolk sac tumor & teratoma, Stage IIIC, 3xBEP & 1xEP: 4/4/07 - 6/25/07, AFP: 14, RPLND 8/10/07, w. left kidney removed. 10/19/07, AFP: 1.9


                      • #12
                        The toxicity can be a very serious concern. It is good that the cough is gone, but concerning that the shortness of breath is still there. The lung concern "should" be covered by a specialist in my mind. Bleo tox is usually treated right away with steroids. If it were me I would be asking some big questions. I am not trying to scare you, but the damage can be permanent. Possibly there is something else going on, but you should know exactly one way or the other. I will try to find info on the internet for you. Get assertive!!! Sharon
                        Click here to support my LIVESTRONG Challenge with Team LOVEstrong.


                        • #13
                          Hope these documents work....still have skills to learn on the computer. Sharon
                          PS Scroll down on the first page...I deleted the first part of the page. I double checked them...was able to read by review print option. Let me know how it goes and I will try to improve my skills if needed.
                          Attached Files
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