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The Link Between Copd And Lung Cancer Shows A High Risk Even In Non - Smokers
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The Link Between Copd And Lung Cancer Shows A High Risk Even In Non  -  smokers

Lung cancer and a condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are much more tightly linked, even in life time non-smokers according to research. An estimated forty to seventy percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer will also have been diagnosed with COPD. That link is strongly established that doctors are now calling COPD the single most important risk factor for developing lung cancer. Other recent studies have shown that the risk factors for one overlap the other making it harder to diagnose the cancer until it reaches the later stages.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute more than twelve million people may have COPD without even realizing it.

Symptoms of COPD are similar to a number of those of lung cancer and include a lingering cough, shortness of breath which increases on exertion and repeated bouts of pneumonia and/or bronchitis Lung cancer may begin much the same way until other symptoms start presenting. Those can include coughing up bloody appearing sputum as well as coughing up just blood, a lack of any appetite leading to serious weight and sudden ewight loss , hoarseness, arm or chest wall pain and swelling in the neck or the face area. Once lung cancer is diagnosed, it is usually late stage and fairly untreatable. Depending on the stage, chemotherapy and radiation might be suggested but may only prolong the life by only a few months.

COPD remains one of the leading causes of death in the United States, even among nonsmokers. There are two forms of the condition including chronic bronchitis and a more serious form called emphysema which eventually leads to a complete destruction of the lungs. In nonsmokers, the lack of a special protein called alpha-1-anitrypsin may cause emphysema. Other, environmental risk factors include workplace exposure to various hazards like gases or harmful fumes as well as pollution. Secondhand smoke exposure also increases the risk of COPD.

Testing for COPD as well as for lung cancer can be tricky. One of the easiest tests for doctors to use is that of spirometry where the patient is asked to blow into a tube as hard as possible. Results can be measured immediately. Other possible tests like blood work, scans and Xrays or even listening to the chest may be less accurate because the lungs may look normal on scan or may sound normal when the chest is listened to. Treatment is geared toward lessening symptoms because there is no cure.


Street Talk

I had no idea that even nonsmokers were at so much risk for COPD. Wow!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

My mother suffered from both of these conditions, and it was not pleasant to watch. thanks Amie for all this great info.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Great info. Cheers

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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