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Here’s why COPD patients need to be careful about lung cancer 

Lung cancer is one of the most common forms of cancers. Studies have shown that Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru are witnessing a rise in lung cancer. 

Published: 28th November 2019 06:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th November 2019 06:34 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU : Lung cancer is one of the most common forms of cancers. Studies have shown that Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru are witnessing a rise in lung cancer. Incidence of lung cancer  is closely linked with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Those suffering from COPD are twice as likely to develop lung cancer, and both these conditions are more likely to occur simultaneously. 

Signs and symptoms 
While there are similar symptoms for COPD and lung cancer, like coughing and difficulty in breathing, there are a few differences as well. Fatigue, appetite loss, unexplained weight loss, chest pain unrelated to coughing, hoarseness, lung infections, coughing up blood, and a persistent dry cough may need immediate attention. If cancer has spread, one may experience headaches, numbness, dizziness, abdominal pain, jaundice, and bone pain. 

Diagnosis and treatment 
Diagnostic tests include chest X-ray, CT scan, sputum test, tissue biopsy and bronchoscopy. The cancer staging is identified through CT scan, MRI,PET scan and bone scan. Whether suffering from COPD or not, chemotherapy is used to treat lung cancer. For COPD and early stages of cancer, the treatment can be a mix of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Newer therapies like immunotherapies and targeted drugs also work well. 

Preventing lung cancer 
Smokers should quit smoking at once. Reduce exposure to hazardous substances by wearing protective gear. Evaluate radon levels at home, as prolonged exposure can worsen COPD and increase lung cancer risk. – The author is consultant,  interventional pulmonology, Aster CMI Hospital

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