Relationship Between Lung Cancer, COPD and Emphysema

  • September 17, 2019
  • by Olivia S.
  • general

Lung Cancer, COPD, and Emphysema

When it comes to the most dangerous and life-threatening diseases of the lungs, the words “lung cancer,” “COPD,” and “emphysema” immediately come to mind. Unless they receive timely treatment, they can all cause death very quickly. Each of the diseases has its peculiar features and symptoms, so it is important to know about them to prevent their development and to start treatment in a timely fashion. In this article, we are going to review the difference between lung cancer, COPD vs. emphysema and see what factors cause their development and what the signs of all these illnesses are.


Emphysema vs. COPD

Doctors used to associate these two diseases in the past and did not indicate the difference between COPD and emphysema. But today these concepts and their definitions are well differentiated. COPD includes symptoms of both chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Chronic bronchitis is a condition in which a patient has a wet cough, and this cough is not caused by other diseases.

Emphysema is a pathological expansion of the internal cavities of the lungs, where the tissues unnaturally stretch and swell. This happens because the air penetrates the tissues easily, and it comes out with difficulty. The signs and symptoms of emphysema may vary, but at the beginning they usually include weakness, mild fever and cough; however, these signs are not obvious and can be indications of different illnesses.

In cases with COPD, bronchitis always occurs with obstruction, which is edema of the mucous membrane, respiratory failure, shortness of breath, spasms of the bronchi, and finally can lead to emphysema. COPD appears, as a rule, in the second half of a person’s life. The usual age of patients is over 40 years.


Lung Cancer vs. COPD

Lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer, with survival rates among lung cancer patients barely reaching 44%. It is caused by COPD, which makes the latter the deadliest disease globally. Just over 10% of survivors have a life expectancy of more than five years after the diagnosis. The reason for such low survival rates and successful treatment outcomes for this disease is the dramatically low rate of early diagnosis. Only around 16% of lung cancer cases are identified early at the onset when the destructive process may still be localized and the spread of cancer may be curbed and controlled. Therefore, the present-day priority within the medical community is the development of timely and efficient diagnostic tools for lung cancer detection and urgent action. 


Primary Causes: The Most Important Things You Should Know

Everyone is aware that it is easier to prevent a disease than to cure it. This rule applies to lung disease, too. The most significant cause of COPD, emphysema and lung cancer is smoking. This bad habit destroys the lungs and makes them vulnerable to infections. Another factor is living in polluted areas, as small particles in the air worsen lung health. The third most important factor is the diagnosis of undertreated chronic bronchitis, which leads to the development of COPD and then to emphysema and cancer.


How to Live On

Many people who have any of the diseases mentioned wonder how they can share this diagnosis with their loved ones. We advise you inform your relatives about the problem as soon as possible because they have the right to know the truth about your condition and can help you with treatment. It is the timely detection and proper treatment of the disease that can help to give the most favorable answer to the question “How long can you live with lung diseases?” If any of your relatives already has lung disease, experts at Buffalo Home Care can provide home care, support, and companionship. Be healthy!

about the author

Olivia S.

Olivia S. has been a caregiver for her parents for 15 years. She has a master's degree in Public Health and has always been passionate about helping people with disabilities. Now Olivia works as a professional caregiver for in-home care services.


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