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COPD & LUNG CANCER

December 20, 2016

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

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