Does Having COPD Increase My Risk for Lung Cancer?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) won't necessarily cause lung cancer, but it may indicate that you are at higher risk. Researchers have found that those with COPD were more likely to develop lung cancer than those without COPD.
One possible explanation is that smoking is the major cause of both COPD and many cancers. So if you smoke, it's important to quit. Smoking can only make COPD worse and increases your risk for lung cancer.
The findings from recent studies also indicate how important it is to talk with your health care provider about your cancer risk. One problem with finding lung cancer in people with COPD is that many of the symptoms are the same for both cancer and COPD. That means it can be easy to overlook cancer in its early stages.
Your health care provider can help you quit smoking and schedule screenings to check for cancer. The earlier lung cancer is found, the better your chance of survival.
- Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN
- Marcellin, Lindsey, MD