Breathlessness is one of the most difficult and one of the most common symptoms of many advanced diseases. It has been called the pain of non-malignant disease because of this. Sadly the difficulties of living with breathlessness are often not recognised, even by very well-informed people, relatives or friends. It is a very frightening symptom to have to live with and can induce feelings of helplessness or despair. Both the person who suffers from it and those closest to them often become anxious and sometimes depressed and worried by the impact of breathlessness. 

There has not been much research in breathlessness and management has not progressed as well as it has for other symptoms such as pain. It is for this reason I set up a research based breathlessness service (BIS) at Addenbrooke’s hospital to help patients living with breathlessness and to learn more about how to improve the care of breathless patients ensuring that patients with breathlessness get all the help they need.

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