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Large study finds association between previous lung diseases and lung cancer

Last Update 06/04/2021

A large study has found that people who have previously experienced lung disease could be at a higher risk of developing lung cancer.


A study involving over 25,000 people has found that people who have previously experienced lung disease could be at a higher risk of developing lung cancer.

The research, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, was an analysis of seven studies that included self-reported data on participants’ current and previous lung health. The researchers focused on five diseases in particular: chronic bronchitis and emphysema (both often classed as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD); tuberculosis (TB); pneumonia; and asthma.

They found that people who had previously had chronic bronchitis or emphysema were more likely to go on to develop lung cancer. In addition, they noted a link between lung cancer and recent pneumonia (two or fewer years prior to the lung cancer diagnosis).

People who have experienced a combination of chronic bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia were also found to be at a particular higher risk of lung cancer.

The researchers hope that these findings could lead to improved monitoring for cancer of people with these lung diseases.

Read the full research paper

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