Causes of a mesothelioma cough

Last Updated on September 17, 2020 by

Coughing and mesothelioma

The exact causes of a mesothelioma cough in patients with mesothelioma are not known.

It is likely that several different reasons for coughing exist, even within one patient.

Patients with mesothelioma often develop fluid around the lung ( a pleural effusion) which is known to cause coughing in some patients.

Some of the nerves supplying the lining of the lungs (pleura) may also be damaged by the tumour, triggering coughing.

Patients are also more likely to suffer from chest infections which can cause coughing.

Causes related to mesothelioma treatment

Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy can cause coughing.

This is because these treatments can cause inflammation and scarring of the lung.

Usually, this is mild and settles down quickly following treatment, avoiding any further intervention.

Physical effects of mesothelioma cough

chest pain associated with mesothelioma cough
Chest pain can often be brought on by a mesothelioma cough

Emotional/social effects of mesothelioma cough

A mesothelioma cough can cause significant worry that it may be because the mesothelioma is getting worse.

Although this is not always the case, it is hard for some patients not to be anxious.

Things that may help a mesothelioma cough:-

a) Controlling coughing and throat clearing

Take a few days monitoring how often you cough and/or clear your throat.  Try to remember how it feels just before you cough.

Once you are aware of how it feels just before you cough or clear your throat, try one of the following three techniques:

The key is to persevere, it will become easier.

If the urge to cough returns, repeat again.

b) Avoidance of coughing triggers

c) Clearing phlegm

Steam inhalation – take a large bowl and fill it with water that has just boiled.

Sit ans place a large towel over your head and around the sides of the bowl and breathe in the steam.

Huffing – Take a big deep breath, filling the lungs as much as possible.

Blow the air out in forceful bursts through an open mouth while saying ‘huh’, as if you are blowing steam onto a mirror.

d) Easing coughing at night 

Try sleeping in different positions, including propped up with more pillows.

e) Simple mesothelioma cough remedies

Some patients report relief from menthol drops, cough sweets and honey and lemon drink.

f) Mesothelioma cough medication

Several medications can be purchased for your cough including cough syrups, painkillers, steriods, anti-indigestion drugs and nebulisers.

Complementary therapies such as reflexology or acupuncture may also help.

If you would like more information on anything mentioned here about the mesothelioma cough, you can speak to your doctor or nurse, or there is more details information online at

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Published Nov 18, 2018

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