It is not surprising that COPD and lung cancer are related. They are both, after all, diseases of the lungs and they both may be related to tobacco use, second-hand smoke, or genetic or environmental influences. It has been established that, given a diagnosis of lung cancer, there is a 40 to 70 percent chance that COPD will also be present, even if the patient has never smoked. Many of the symptoms of the two diseases are similar, such as shortness of breath, a chronic cough, fatigue, and sometimes, weight loss.
For lung cancer patients who did smoke, the chances of COPD are 6 times higher than in smokers without the cancer diagnosis.
A diagnosis of COPD does not dramatically increase the chances of lung cancer. The incidence is naturally higher, because of the common causal factors, and there is a tendency for physicians to screen their COPD patients for cancer.
Many diseases are accompanied with “co-morbidities”, other conditions that can aggravate the patient’s overall condition. COPD and lung cancer are certainly in that category.
A knowledge of the treatment options for COPD can significantly aid the lung cancer patient in dealing with the discomfort of the combined diseases during treatment for the cancer.
Uncle Jim & Aunt Mary