Coughing is a reflex that keeps your nose and throat clear. Coughing can be irritating, but it's actually helping your body heal or protect itself. Your doctor will classify your cough as acute or chronic. Acute coughs are the kind you usually get with a cold or the flu; they start suddenly and can last about 2-3 weeks. Chronic coughs last longer than 3 weeks and may be caused by smoking, asthma, and allergies.
Some breast cancer treatments may cause coughing:
- radiation therapy
- Faslodex (chemical name: fulvestrant), a hormonal therapy
- Femara (chemical name: letrozole), a hormonal therapy
If you have a cough that lasts for more than 2 or 3 weeks or if you cough up blood, talk to your doctor right away. Since coughing can be caused by so many things, it's important to figure out why it's happening to you. If it's because of another condition, such as a cold or asthma, your doctor can treat it with medication. If your cough is due to breast cancer treatment, you may be able to switch medications.
Other tips to ease coughing:
- Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke, both of which can make your coughing worse.
- Avoid things that may cause allergic reactions. Some of the most common are dust, mold, pollen, and pet dander.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take a steamy shower or use a vaporizer at night. Warm, moist air can soothe a dry cough.
For more tips, ask the members of the Breastcancer.org Discussion Boards for advice.