Respiratory Medicine Program Committee

The objective is to advocate for high quality care in respiratory health and to provide leadership in areas of respiratory education, policy development, best practice guidelines and research addressing the needs of family physicians in this special interest field. We aim to be the trusted voice for family physician perspectives in the prevention and management of patients with respiratory conditions in Canada.

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DISCLAIMER: Editorial comments posted to this web page are those of the Respiratory Medicine Program Committee members and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Respiratory Medicine in the News 

Editorial content written by Dr. Alan Kaplan, chair of the Respiratory Medicine SIFP Committee.

Radon levels unacceptable in 25% of New Brunswick Homes (Lung Cancer Risk)

Editorial comment:

Radon is a risk factor for lung cancer. Epidemiological evidence shows a clear link between lung cancer and high concentrations of radon, with 21,000 radon-induced U.S. lung cancer deaths per year—second only to cigarette smoking (x)  Getting your homes tested is the only way you can protect yourself against this colourless, odourless substance.


Editorial comment:

Fireproof, waterproof, and weatherproof. This was the perfect product, until we found out what it does to lungs. Consider asbestos exposure to your middle aged hard working people in blue colour jobs who may have been exposed. Early diagnosis is the only chance at a cure. 

WHO ramps up efforts to eradicate tuberculosis

Editorial comment:

Tuberculosis is relatively uncommon in Canada, but consider it in aboriginal patients and those born outside of Canada; a very large group of Canadians. Remember the presentation of cough, sputum, weight loss, hemoptysis and night sweats. Consider it when pneumonia does not clear as expected. The diagnostic test is sputum for acid fast bacilli, NOT just a TB skin test.  Interestingly, there is an increased risk of reactivation of TB with inhaled corticosteroids, so those CXRs with granulomas that you have been ignoring might be important in those being treated with ICS (as a risk of reactivating latent TB). 

Advocacy group says lung cancer patients are underserved

Editorial comment:

Lung cancer is common and deadly. It happens not just in smokers (see Radon article) so we must be aware of the risk. There is good news regarding new targeted therapies for certain lung cancers so this is no longer the death sentence that it was. In addition, CT scanning for lung cancer screening is something currently in its infancy. Remember, screening smokers with CXR is ineffective as it does not pick up disease in a state where cure is possible.

New York Times Magazine: Toxic Toking (Follow-up Article: Sweating it solved!)

Smoking anything, inhaling chemicals into your lungs can be bad for you in ways you do not know! People are looking for effect in unexpected ways, so remember to ask the unusual questions with interesting presentations. The only thing that should go into your lungs is AIR!

Time Magazine : Five things still unknown about e-cigarettes

There are at least two more things you should know!

1) Most e-cigarettes are sold by cigarette companies, hoping to get people hooked on the lifestyle of inhaling nicotine through e cigarettes instead of cigarettes. While not as harmful, addiction creation is a problem

2) Kids are encouraged to use these due to the flavoured vapours available; again a tool to get them hooked.

I use e cigarettes to help with smoking cessation and they DO help; but there may be societal costs we should appreciate in how they are distributed

Toronto Star : Canada on the Lookout for MERS cases

We have to be on the alert for the next potential epidemic. This coronavirus is significant but likely not infectious enough to cause widespread illness......but it is only potentially a mutation away from doing that. Careful with dealing with immunosuppressed patients returning from overseas, especially if they rode camels!

National Post : Insurers charge e-cigarettes users like smokers

One more thing to warn patients about as they work on smoking cessation.

CBC : U.S. proposes e-cigarette ban for minors

I could not agree more, and while in Canada we are supposedly only allowed nicotine free e-cigarette, the nicotine containing ones are here! Make this a medical device, not a social situation!

National Post : Victoria, B.C. prepares to ban virtually all forms of public smoking

The right move would to make smoking cigarettes illegal period; give a reasonable interval and LOTS of assistance for smoking cessation for these patients with addiction, then tighten this all up. The social and cost savings will be substantial and will help decrease smoking in our younger populations. Now what will they replace it with...?

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