Breathlessness clinics within specialist palliative care settings can improve the quality of life and functional capacity of patients with lung cancer

Palliat Med. 2003 Jul;17(5):410-7. doi: 10.1191/0269216303pm752oa.


This paper is a development on recent research that proved the value of non-pharmacological techniques and strategies in the management of breathlessness in lung cancer. It evaluates the intervention in a specialist palliative care setting using an outpatient clinic at Lewis-Manning House. Referrals were made by the patients' physician or specialist nurse. Patients (n = 30) were assessed and treated by the senior physiotherapist in charge of the clinic over three sessions. A number of outcomes were measured at various stages of the patients' treatment. The results have confirmed and strengthened the previous published results. Highly significant improvements in patients' breathlessness, functional capacity, activity levels and distress levels have been shown. For example, the percentage of patients experiencing breathlessness several times or more per day was reduced from 73% to 27% four weeks later. In addition, this project has been able to demonstrate significant improvements in quality of life and high levels of satisfaction with the interventions. Qualitative data enhanced the findings of objective measurements.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology
  • Dyspnea / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications*
  • Lung Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life*
  • Treatment Outcome