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When a loved one has COPD or another chronic lung disease, knowing how to balance taking care of them and yourself can be difficult. This page provides helpful resources for caregivers including guides on helping your loved one quit smoking and how to take time out of your day for yourself.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), you may have a lot of questions. This page is a great resource for learning about all aspects of the disease including talking to your doctor, flare-up signs and symptoms, and disease management.

If you have a chronic lung disease, you know that staying healthy plays an important part in managing your symptoms and overall well-being. The right exercise methods, diet, and other techniques can help you stay healthy with chronic lung disease and get you back to doing the things you love.

Download the Living with COPD Guide
Living with COPD? 9 Questions to Ask Your Physician
COPD 101
Glossary of common COPD terms
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Recent Articles

Understanding the Possible Links Between COPD and Lung Cancer

By Do More With Oxygen

Tue, Feb 18, 2014

It is important to understand the difference between COPD and lung cancer. While they are definitely different conditions, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and lung cancer are sometimes linked. According to the Cancer Prevention & Treatment Fund, an estimated 50 to 90 percent of lung cancer patients also have COPD. What causes the link between these two conditions? There are two primary possibilities.

Inflammation

The Cancer Prevention & Treatment Fund points out that researchers believe COPD and lung cancer both originate from inflammation, which has multiple sources, including:

Environmental risk factors

Exposure to cigarette smoke is the primary risk factor for both COPD and lung cancer because it causes chronic inflammation. Plus, if a patient already has COPD, the disease may reduce the body’s ability to detoxify cigarette smoke. This makes the smoke even more toxic and may cause tumors to spread beyond the lungs.

Presence of COPD

The inflammation that COPD patients suffer from can activate proteins that make cancer cells grow faster. Plus, the proteins that repair DNA in lung cells can become deactivated when COPD is present.

Genetics

Chronic inflammation from a genetic predisposition can cause the airways and lungs to repeatedly injure and repair themselves. This leads to uncontrolled cell growth and, eventually, lung cancer.

Female Sex Hormones

According to the Cancer Prevention & Treatment Fund, asthma, COPD and lung cancer are the three most common types of lung diseases contracted by women. The presence of estradiol (a type of estrogen) and other female sex hormones causes airways to become more inflamed when you smoke, which is one reason why women are more likely than men to develop COPD and lung cancer. Estadiol also increases the production of certain lung proteins that make your body more susceptible to the damaging effects of cigarette smoke.

Some women complain that asthma, COPD and lung cancer symptoms worsen in the days before their menstrual cycles, seemingly because of abrupt changes in hormone levels. After menopause, female hormone production decreases and the likelihood that lung problems are caused by female sex hormones declines.

If you were recently diagnosed with COPD, make sure you are educating yourself about the disease. Download the free guide, "COPD 101," to get you started.

COPD 101

Photo Credit: Playing Futures

Topics: COPD, living with copd, lung cancer

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