Ways Tuberculosis Increases Risk of Lung Cancer

Updated at: Apr 05, 2012
Ways Tuberculosis Increases Risk of Lung Cancer

Tuberculosis infection increases the risk of lung cancer. Though not established yet, research is going on to establish a direct association between the two diseases.

Aparna Mir
Communicable DiseasesWritten by: Aparna MirPublished at: Apr 05, 2012

Pulmonary tuberculosis increases the chances of lung cancer occurrence, as. With tuberculosis infection affects the lungs. A person may be likely to get lung cancer despite treatment for tuberculosis.

As yet there is no solid evidence that proves an association between pulmonary tuberculosis and lung cancer. A research in China Medical University has shown that people who were diagnosed with tuberculosis in any point of their life have 10.9 times greater risk of having lung cancer, while people who do not have TB very seldom get afflicted with lung cancer.

As in tuberculosis the lungs are damaged, it results in its inflammation and fibrosis. The inflamed lung cells and tissues divide in a continuous and uncontrolled manner leading to cyst formation. In the absence of proper treatment, these cysts become cancerous and result in cancer formation.

In tuberculosis the body’s immune mechanism also weakens. So the body become more prone to carcinogenic exposures. These carcinogens initiate mutations in the lung cells, finally developing into cancer. If a person suffering from tuberculosis develops chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the severity of lung cancer occurrence also aggravates many folds.

Tuberculosis affects the pulmonary system of the body. It includes mouth, nasal passage, oesophagus and lungs. In TB the microbes pile up in the lung area and produce various endotoxins. These endotoxins cause lung damage. When medications are given to cure TB, their main aim is to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. These medications don’t clean up the endotoxins released by the bacteria but keep on eroding the lung cells which can finally result in lung cancer.

Tuberculosis initiates the formation of tumours in the lungs. These tumours can turn carcinogenic in the absence of treatment and result in lung cancer. A person who has already suffered from tuberculosis is always prone to develop any kind of lung infection even after he has recovered. If the person again starts smoking or using tobacco, he can develop serious lung complications which ultimately results in lung cancer.

If a person has had tuberculosis in any point of his life, thorough lung exam  is always recommended. Any tumour found in the lungs should be examined minutely. Also such people should not indulge in smoking or drinking as these can activate the cancer cells.

The research on this matter is still in its initial stages. Till now only an indirect link has been found between tuberculosis and lung cancer. A lot of work has to be done to establish a direct relationship between the two dreaded diseases.



Read more articles on Understand Tuberculosis.


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