Tuberculosis patients are 11 times more likely than the average to develop lung cancer, according to a new study published by a group of Taiwanese scientists.
The researchers followed more than 700,000 randomly selected individuals over a period of six years, including 4,480 diagnosed with tuberculosis, they said in a statement Wednesday.
"The incidence of lung cancer in these tuberculosis patients was 11 times greater than people without tuberculosis," said one of the researchers, Chen Chih-yi, from China Medical University in the central Taiwan city of Taichung.
"This study suggests that it is also important to watch out for lung cancer prevention in the campaign against tuberculosis."
The findings, published in the January issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, support the notion of a link between tuberculosis and lung cancer, which has so far been suspected but not definitively proved.
"Tuberculosis is a very common chronic disease worldwide. People in developing and undeveloped areas suffer from it mostly," said Chen.
"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."