Lung Cancer Risk With Rheumatoid Arthritis
The NDB study presented at the annual 2005 European Congress of Rheumatology held by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) follows previous research that showed an increased risk but could not assign causality because of lack of data.
About The Study
The study, authored by Dr. Fred Wolfe and Kaleb Michaud, used a longitudinal rheumatic disease data bank of 21,932 rheumatoid arthritis patients who did not have known lung cancer when the study began.
Patients were followed for up to 6 years. Incidents of lung cancer were documented by medical and death records.
The NDB study found no increased risk with the disease rheumatoid arthritis itself but did find an increased lung cancer risk that is associated with:
- low levels of education
- dyspnea (breathing discomfort or significant breathlessness)
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes joint pain, swelling and damage leading to loss of function and disability.Rheumatoid arthritis has several special features that make it different from other types of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis generally occurs in a symmetrical pattern. This means that if one knee or hand is involved, the other one is also. It can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints. In addition, people with the disease may have fatigue, occasional fever, and a general sense of not feeling well (malaise).
Another feature of rheumatoid arthritis is that it varies a lot from person to person. For some people, it lasts only a few months or a year or two and goes away without causing any noticeable damage. Other people have mild or moderate disease, with periods of worsening symptoms, called flares, and periods in which they feel better, called remissions. Still others have severe disease that is active most of the time, lasts for many years, and leads to serious joint damage and disability.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, 2.1 million people in the U.S. have rheumatoid arthritis. About 70 percent of those are women.
Related Resources - Rheumatoid Arthritis
What Is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancers are potentially life-threatening malignant tumors of the lungs. Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. According to the American Lung Association, "lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women. Lung cancer takes many years to develop. But changes in the lung can begin almost as soon as a person is exposed to cancer-causing substances."According to A.D.A.M., "most lung cancers are caused by cigarette smoking. The more cigarettes you smoke per day and the earlier you started smoking, the greater the risk of lung cancer. Second-hand smoke increases the risk. High levels of pollution, radiation, and asbestos exposure may also increase risk."
Related Resources - Lung Cancer
- The Lung Cancer CenterSite
- Lung Cancer Screening Quiz: Do You Have Lung Cancer?
- Are You At Risk for Developing Lung Cancer?
Related Resources - Smoking
- Quit Smoking / Smoking Cessation (from your About guide to smoking cessation)
- Smoking and Arthritis (how smoke and smoking affects arthritis)
What Is The National Databank For Rheumatic Diseases?
The National Databank for Rheumatic Diseases (NDB) is a non-profit research databank performing unique clinical research in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and other rheumatic diseases. NDB research is designed to improve the treatment and outcomes of these conditions. The NDB performs outcomes research by direct interaction with rheumatology patients. Patients report on all aspects of their illness in detailed semi-annual questionnaires.
How Can Patients Enroll In NDB Research?
The NDB is currently seeking patients to enroll in their research who have a diagnosis of:
Patients report on all aspects of their illness in detailed semi-annual questionnaires filled out online. English-speaking US residents may also choose paper forms received through the mail.
Interested patients may call the NDB at 316- 263-2125 or 1-800-323-5871.
E-mail the NDB at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit their website: http://www.arthritis-research.org/
Related Resources - Arthritis Research
Sources: NIH Publication No. 04-4179; National Databank for Rheumatic Diseases, EULAR 2005 Press Release