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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Lung Cancer

Question: Lung cancer and hiccups

 ninafly64 - Wed May 11, 2005 10:15 pm

My dad was diagnosed in October 2004 w/ inoperable Lung Cancer. Stage III. Since the begining of treatment Dad has had horrible, horrible, irregular bouts of hiccups, I've preferred to call it "a hiccup attack", his whole body shakes with each "hiccup" after another, at times he feared he couldn't catch his breath. They are not normal like you or I would get them, and we've struggled to find a medicine that would continue to work for him. Some would work for a day, maybe two, possibly even a week. But eventually, almost inevitably they return. I can't seem to understand why no one can tell us what this is caused by? In late December he started to feel extremely ill and his stomach started to bloat...he was admited a few days after Christmas and had surgery New Years day. From what I understand it was a large tumor inside his intestines. They do not know where it came from or how long it exsisted? He was released, and continued to live a hiccup free life for a short time....until we continued with the chemo, and again they started. Late last month he was again admitted for the bloating and nausea, and they inserted a tube up his nose down to his stomach t :( o pump out "the blockage"....he's home now, and he had his "last chemo" treatment yesterday. Could someone please help me make sense of the hiccups and bloating? :(
 Theresa Jones, RN - Thu May 12, 2005 5:19 am

User avatar Hi ninafly64,
Here is some general information regarding lung cancer and hiccups. Sometimes when lung cancer is present it may metastisize (spread) to other areas of the body. In men, lung cancer may spread to the heart causing malignant pericardial effusion which causes symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, swelling in the upper abdomen, extreme tiredness and weakness, and hiccups. This would be one explaination for the hiccups that you may want to discuss with his physician. If an intestinal obstruction is present from disease, twist in the bowel, etc. this also causes bloating and one of the reasons for the tube down his nose into his stomach was to not only remove gastric contents but to allow the gastrintestinal tract to "rest" so the blockage or twist could resolve. Keep in mind that the hiccups alone cause bloating. Some of the medications used for hiccups are thorazine (relieves hiccups in approximately 80% of cases), reglan, valproic acid, phenobarbital, etc. If any of these medications have not been tried, you may also want to discuss this with the physician.
Cancer of any type is a difficult disease not only affecting the person who has it but loved ones around them as well. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours for grace, guidance, and understanding.
 ninafly64 - Thu May 12, 2005 2:37 pm

Thank you so much for your speedy reply. Although I am releived to finally find someone w/ answers I'm not sure how to process the information I've received...where do i go from here? The word "maliganant" keeps racing through my head? What are the chances? What do I tell my family? Dad? We are an extremely close loving family...and I almost feel as though this information was not shared with us for that reason. If "they" couldn't tell us that this was a possibilty....who can we trust? :cry: Again, I thank you for all that you've shared.
 Theresa Jones, RN - Fri May 13, 2005 8:35 am

User avatar Hi ninafly64,
First let me apologize for alarming you. This information was provided so that you would hopefully have an insight to what may cause those particular symptoms. You already know that malignancy is present (lung cancer) There are instances where the cancer spreads to other areas of the body which you and he are probably already aware of. The best suggestion I can make to you is, you and your dad sit down together, write down your questions and concerns. When he returns to the office for an evaluation, present this list. If there is an explaination that you don't understand, stop the conversation and say I don't understand what your saying. Regarding the chemo treatments and his progress, ask an honest question, what is the prognosis or outcome of this disease since chemo has been completed. If it is not terribly much to ask, I hope you have the opportunity to provide an update from time to time with his progress. Take care.

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