Pulmonary medicine and palliative care

Milos Tucakovic, Rebecca Bascom, Paul B. Bascom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Gynaecological malignancies affect the respiratory system both directly and indirectly. Malignant pleural effusion is a poor prognostic factor: management options include repeated thoracentesis, chemical pleurodesis, symptomatic relief of dyspnoea with oxygen and morphine, and external drainage. Parenchymal metastases are typically multifocal and respond to chemotherapy, with a limited role for pulmonary metastatectomy. Pulmonary tumour embolism is frequently associated with lymphangitic carcinomatosis, and is most common in choriocarcinoma. Thromboembolic disease, associated with the hypercoagulable state of cancer, is treated with anticoagulation. Inferior vena cava filter placement is indicated when anticoagulation cannot be given, or when emboli recur despite adequate anticoagulation. Palliative care has a major role for respiratory symptoms of gynaecological malignancies. Treatable causes of dyspnoea include bronchospasm, fluid overload and retained secretions. Opiates are effective at relieving dyspnoea associated with effusions, metatases, and lymphangitic tumour spread. Non-pharmacological therapies include energy conservation, home redesign, and dyspnoea relief strategies, including pursed lip breathing, relaxation, oxygen, circulation of air with a fan, and attention to spiritual suffering. Identification and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux, sinusitis, and asthma can improve many patients' coughs. Chest wall pain responds to local radiotherapy, nerve blocks or systemic analgesia. Case examples illustrate ways to address quality of life issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-304
Number of pages14
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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