Learning Center Articles

Respiratory System : Cardiovascular System : Biochemical : Psychoemotional : Cancer

Respiratory System
PneumonitisRadiation pneumonitis develops 2-3 months after start of treatment.

After 6-12 months, fibrosis occurs and is evident on x-ray.

Side effect of some chemotherapy drugs.

Monitor for dry, hacking cough; fever; and exertional dyspnea.
Cardiovascular System
Pericarditis and MyocarditisInflammation secondary to radiation injury.

Complication when chest wall is irradiated. May occur up to 1 yr after treatment.

Side effect of some chemotherapy drugs

Monitor for clinical manifestations of these disorders (e.g., dyspnea)
CardiotoxicitySome chemotherapy drugs (e.g., anthracyclines, taxanes) can cause ECG changes and rapidly progressive heart failureMonitor heart with ECG and cardiac ejection fractions.

Drug therapy may need to be modified for symptoms or deteriorating cardiac function studies

Biochemical
HyperuricemiaIncreased uric acid levels due to chemotherapy-induced cell destruction.

Can cause secondary gout and obstructive uropathy

Monitor uric acid levels.

Allopurinol may be given as a prophylactic measure.

Encourage increased fluid intake

Psychoemotional
FatigueAnabolic processes result in accumulation of metabolites from cell breakdown.Assess for reversible causes of fatigue, and address them as indicated.

Reassure patient that fatigue is a common side effect of therapy.

Encourage patient to rest when fatigued, to maintain usual lifestyle patterns as much as possible, and to pace activities in accordance with energy level.

Encourage moderate exercise as tolerated