Is There a Link Between IPF and Treatment for Breast Cancer?

I have that sinking feeling… And it’s really starting to bother me. I’ve never said this openly before but here goes: My gut tells me there’s a strange link between idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and breast cancer treatment.

Sound unlikely? Guess again. Here’s why…

I was trolling around looking for inspiration after a dear family member of mine died of IPF.

My family is devastated, but we are also being uplifted by faith—some of us. More to the point for you… My dear cousin, who recently passed, had received several rounds of intense radiation and later, some mild chemotherapy after doctors diagnosed her with Stage l breast cancer. She had been in excellent health, followed a standard American diet, and kept her health in check. She was a lovely woman.

So when she was diagnosed, we were all happy because “doctors caught it early.” So they zapped her and zapped her—“just to be sure” to send the cancer packing. And all of her tests came back clear: no evidence of cancer. We all thought she was lucky… But a few years later, she unknowingly began the IPF journey with a “little cough.” Fortunately for all of us, she lived well after her IPF diagnosis until about the last six months of her life.

When I got the news of her IPF diagnosis, I was well aware of what it was, but thanks to my suspicious mind, I began to wonder if the intense treatment she had to kill her breast cancer may have caused pulmonary fibrosis. In other words, I think it’s PF vs. IPF.

So today, as I was trolling around looking for inspiration, I found it in a grandmother, whose video about her journey with IPF. But I can’t help but wonder if her cancer treatment for her breast cancer also caused her IPF. These aren’t the only cases I’ve heard of and I’m wondering if there’s a link.

But more to the grandmother, she’s tried all sorts of therapies and treatments although treatments are limited for her IPF. Her doctors have discussed where she is and that she’s enrolling in a clinical trial for what’s now known as Esbriet. She’s had surgery.

She was a teacher for 45 years. She loved when her students used to come up and thank her for helping them. That’s what she wants to do for other people living with IPF. She is bound and determined to give back—even if it’s just by participating in a clinical trial—because even if the drug doesn’t help her, she might be able to help scientists and doctors make advances in treatments by learning what does not work and why.


Alisha Stone

Alisha Stone

Alisha Stone has a BA in psychology and is dedicated to improving the lives of others living with chronic illnesses.

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