Shortness of breath
Breathlessness (dyspnoea) is common at the end of life. Breathing may become uneven, change rhythm and become noisy. Your palliative care team will assess the cause of the breathlessness and manage it with medicine or practical measures. These include sitting near an open window, having a fan in the room or doing relaxation exercises. Adjusting your position in bed can also help.
Breathlessness may make you feel distressed, and this is likely to make the shortness of breath worse. Talk to your doctor about medicines that can ease your anxiety.
Listen to our podcast on breathlessness
Dr Megan Ritchie, Staff Specialist Palliative Medicine, Palliative Care Service, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; Gabrielle Asprey, Cancer Support Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Rosemary Cavanough, Consumer; Louise Durham, Nurse Practitioner, Metro South Palliative Care Service, QLD; Tracey Gardner, Senior Psychologist, Cancer Counselling Service, Cancer Council Queensland; Karen Hall, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Linda Nolte, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia, VIC; Rowena Robinson, Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia, ACT; Helena Rodi, Program Manager, Advance Care Planning Australia, VIC.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.