Breast Irradiation and Respiratory Infections
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Is there a connection between radiation (Right breast, ductal carcinoma in situ) and later increase of upper respiratory infections (URI)?
Neha Vapiwala , MD, Senior Editor of OncoLink and Chief Resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:
There is no known link between breast cancer irradiation and URI's of which I am aware. Specifically, there is no direct anatomic connection between the breast tissue that is treated in radiation fields (which routinely includes the underlying chest wall and a sliver of lung) and the upper respiratory tract, nor can I think of any immunologic link.
Having said that, if a breast cancer patient also had several months of chemotherapy prior to breast irradiation (note: chemotherapy is NOT indicated for ductal carcinoma in situ, but can be used for invasive breast cancer), this could cause suppression of the immune system and greater susceptibility to infections such as URI's. However, despite this short-term increased risk of infection from chemotherapy, there is no clear long-term risk or reason for chronic upper respiratory infections related to breast cancer therapy.
OncoLink is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through OncoLink should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem or have questions or concerns about the medication that you have been prescribed, you should consult your health care provider.
Information Provided By: www.oncolink.org | © 2016 Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania