Introduction Although lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world with an estimated 1.61 million new cases diagnosed in 2008 (Cancer Research UK, 2010) little is known about the effect long term lung disease has on the survival rate of lung cancer.
Methods The aim of the study is to compare the 3-year survival rates of lung cancer patient with pre-existing COPD with the 3-year survival rates of patients with lung cancer only. Data from Hospital Episodes Statistics was identified for lung cancer patients as well as for COPD patients.
Results Three year data obtained from Liverpool PCT showed 434 new cases of lung cancer and 48 (11%) of these new cases are known COPD patients. Inference from the analysed data proved to be contrary to previous knowledge that co-morbidities reduced survival rates of lung cancer patients. Lung cancer patients with COPD showed better survival than lung cancer patients without. This difference is more evident after controlling for age. Lung cancer patients (aged 65 or less) with COPD were seen to have survived more (Pr>χ2=0.0223) than their non-COPD counterparts of the same age category.
Conclusion This study was able to show a difference in the survival rate of the two lung cancer groups researched (those with or without COPD) with patients with COPD surviving more than those without. This difference becomes more significant in patients less than 65 years.
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