TB sufferers face higher lung cancer rates

Researchers at China Medical University and Hospital in Taiwan have conducted a study that shows that those suffering from tuberculosis are 10.9 times more likely than non-tuberculosis patients to develop lung cancer.

The study was conducted with 716,872 adults in China that were eligible under the country's National Health Insurance program from 2001 through 2007. A total of 26.3 of every 10,000 people with tuberculosis developed lung cancer, the study found, as opposed to only 2.41 per 10,000 people without tuberculosis. Mortality was also higher in those with tuberculosis, at 51.1 per 10,000 versus 8.2 per 10,000.

"Tuberculosis is a very common chronic disease worldwide; people in the developing and undeveloped areas suffer with it mostly," Dr. Chin-Yi Chen, one of the researchers, said. "It is well known that lung cancer is causally associated with smoking. Less attention has been focused on whether people with tuberculosis are also at higher risk of developing lung cancer...The incidence of lung cancer in these tuberculosis patients was 11 times greater than people without tuberculosis.

"The risk of lung cancer may increase further to almost 16 times greater if patients with tuberculosis also suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This study suggests that it is also important to watch out for lung cancer prevention in the campaign against tuberculosis."