COPD and Lung Cancer Pathophysiology

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at increased risk for both the development of primary lung cancer, as well as poor outcome after lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. Because of existing impairments in lung function, patients with COPD often do not meet traditional criteria for tolerance of definitive surgical lung cancer therapy. Emerging information regarding the physiology of lung resection in COPD indicates that postoperative decrements in lung function may be less than anticipated by traditional prediction tools. In patients with COPD, more inclusive consideration for surgical resection with curative intent may be appropriate as limited surgical resections or nonsurgical therapeutic options provide inferior survival. Furthermore, optimizing perioperative COPD medical care according to clinical practice guidelines including smoking cessation can potentially minimize morbidity and improve functional status in this often severely impaired patient population.

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