Non-smokers with COPD at higher risk of lung cancer

non smokers with copd at higher risk of lung cancer

Seoul, April 4

Researchers have found that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is linked to a heightened risk of lung cancer in people who have never smoked.

The findings from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, published in the journal Thorax, indicate that the risk is on a par with that of smokers without chronic lung disease.

COPD is an umbrella term for respiratory conditions that narrow the airways, such as bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking is the main risk factor for COPD, which itself is associated with a heightened risk of developing lung cancer.

According to the researchers, but up to 39 per cent of people who develop COPD have never smoked, and it’s not clear what their risk of lung cancer is, because most of the studies looking at this have included too few participants.

For the findings, the researchers included 338,548 Korean men (146,996) and women (191,552) between the ages of 40 and 84, with no history of lung cancer, who had had at least one health check provided by National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) between 2002 and 2013.

Their health was tracked for an average of seven years, based on inpatient and outpatient treatment and prescriptions issued.During this monitoring period, 1834 participants developed lung cancer. In 290 cases, the person had COPD, but in 1544 cases, the person didn’t.

Among current and former smokers, those without COPD were around twice as likely to develop lung cancer while those with COPD were six times as likely to do so, compared with people who had never smoked and didn’t have COPD.But…

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