Pulmonary Disease May Increase Lung Cancer Risk

Lung cancer associated with previous diagnosis of respiratory conditions

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Medical conditions that affect breathing can take an immediate toll on health and may set the stage for other serious problems later in life.

New large-scale research found that pulmonary, or lung, diseases like pneumonia or emphysema could increase the risk of later developing lung cancer.

"Seek medical care immediately if you're having trouble breathing."

The study was written by Ann Olsson, PhD, of the International Agency for Research in Cancer in Lyon, France, and the Institute of Environmental Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues.

The researchers studied how lung diseases, including multiple conditions at the same time, affected the risk of later developing lung cancer.

Lung conditions the study authors looked at included chronic bronchitis, emphysema, tuberculosis, pneumonia and asthma. These types of medical issues affect the body’s ability to breathe in air and transfer oxygen to the blood.

The researchers looked at data from seven studies, including 27,684 patients from Europe and Canada.

Pneumonia and chronic bronchitis were the most reported diseases.

The study authors associated chronic bronchitis and emphysema with an increased risk of later lung cancer in men. Men with bronchitis had a 1.33-times increased risk of lung cancer, and the cancer risk associated with emphysema increased by 1.5 times. However, the authors found no association between tuberculosis and lung cancer.

Dr. Olsson said in a press release that the study is the first that has "considered multiple respiratory diseases simultaneously."

The authors found an increase in lung cancer risk in patients with previous chronic bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia. The patients with the greatest risk had all three of the previous conditions.

The researchers found that patients with asthma often had a decreased risk of lung cancer.

The study was published online Aug. 15 in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Results were presented at the European Congress of Epidemiology, held from Aug. 11 to 14 in Aarhus, Denmark.

Funding came from more than a dozen government and private agencies in France, Germany, Canada, Poland and the United States.

Review Date: 
August 14, 2014
Last Updated:
August 18, 2014