Non-Smokers with COPD are at High Risk of Getting Lung Cancer

The most prominent factor behind getting lung cancer is smoking. In addition to smokers, non-smokers are also getting affected by this deadly disease. According to the recent study, researchers have found that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is linked to increased risk of lung cancer in those who have never smoked. The findings are from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea and are published in the Journal Thorax. COPD is the term used for respiratory conditions that narrow the airways like bronchitis and emphysema.

In this study, the researchers have indicated that up to 39% of people who develop COPD who have never smoked. They included 338,548 Korean men and women between the ages of 40 and 84, with no history of lung cancer. Among the current and former smokers, those without COPD were twice as likely to develop lung cancer while those with COPD were six times as likely to do so, in comparison with people who have never smoked and didn’t have COPD.

Smoking is the main risk factor behind COPD, which itself is associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer in those with COPD, but who had never smoked was on par with that of smokers without COPD, the study suggested. The researchers also said, “Given that poor lung function in COPD is often a barrier to optimal lung cancer treatment due to increased risk of treatment-related morbidities, our study suggests that early detection of lung cancer in COPD patients may reduce the risk of treatment complications.

According to their findings, COPD is a strong independent risk factor for getting lung cancer. Further studies also required to be done to evaluate whether COPD patients are candidates for lung cancer screening, irrespective of whether they smoke or not.


The information shared in this blog is for educational purposes only.

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