The Proven Link Between COPD and Lung Cancer

It’s always a good time to make patients aware of the proven link between COPD and lung cancer. If you know someone with COPD or if you suffer from this chronic disease, read and pass this information along!

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD is the name given to several progressive lung diseases including  emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and non-reversible asthma. It is a serious inflammatory lung disease and its main symptom is breathlessness. Smoking is the primary culprit and the disease becomes progressively worse with wheezing, tightness in the chest, mucus, and shortness of breath.  

What Is the Link Between COPD and Lung Cancer?

It is a well known fact that COPD is a significant risk for developing lung cancer. Consequently, early diagnosis of COPD is important to avoid significant trauma to the lungs that may lead to lung cancer. It is also very important for individuals to understand which factors can increase their risk for this serious condition.

doctor examining at chest x ray film of patient

Lung Damage

When you suffer from COPD, it damages the lungs, raises the risk for cancer,  and exacerbates abnormal cell growth. The risk for lung cancer is even higher in some people with emphysema who never smoked.


Cigarette smoke can be more damaging to some people due to their genetic makeup. Researchers have discovered that certain genes make you more susceptible to COPD and lung cancer.

Chronic Lung Inflammation

When the lungs become inflamed, individuals are more vulnerable to both COPD as well as lung cancer.

Additional Factors

There are, of course, other reasons why someone may develop lung cancer. Among them are second hand smoke, a family history, HIV infection, radiation therapy in the chest area, autoimmune diseases, and workplace toxins.

Don’t Be Caught Unaware

Although COPD can mask symptoms of lung cancer, it is essential to see The Bethencourt Group if you notice any changes to your COPD symptoms. Some of the subtle signs may include the following:

  • Chest pains not associated with coughing
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Hoarseness
  • Coughing up blood or mucus
  • A cough that will not go away

Early detection of lung cancer can save your life. See The Bethencourt Group for regular lung cancer screenings if you suffer from COPD, and be sure to ask for more tips on how you can lower your risk for lung cancer.

As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (657) 241-9440 or request information through our online form.