Understanding PF

What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?

What is pulmonary fibrosis?
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is an interstitial lung disease that affects an estimated 30,000 Canadians, with a projected 5,000 deaths each year. In patients with PF, the lung tissue becomes scarred and over time, thickens and becomes more widespread. In turn, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream, resulting in shortness of breath and vital organs being deprived of the necessary oxygen to survive.
What are the symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis?
Symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis usually have a gradual onset and may include:

  • Shortness of breath, particularly during or after physical activity
  • Spasmodic, dry cough
  • Gradual, unintended weight loss or weight gain
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Chest discomfort
  • Clubbing, or enlargement, of the ends of the fingers (or sometimes the toes) due to a buildup of tissue
What causes pulmonary fibrosis?
PF can be linked to particular causes, such as environmental exposures, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, residual infection, or autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis. In the majority of cases of pulmonary fibrosis, the cause is uncertain or unknown and as such is termed idiopathic.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: A form of PF

Download the UHN Patient Education handout – IPF Information for patients and families


Dr. Charles Chan speaks about the importance of Early Diagnosis for IPF. (Nov. 2015).

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”SXjTmxo5Kf0&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”360″ auto_thumb=”1″] Dr. Charles Chan, IPF Researcher & Respirologist at University Health Network, Toronto speaks about the importance of Early Diagnosis for IPF in this 1-minute segment from CTV’s Canadian Health & Family show aired November 21st, 2015.
Dr. Chan talks about Living with IPF including current drug therapy. (Nov. 2015).

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”ndfMjqWpzBE&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”360″ auto_thumb=”1″] Dr. Charles Chan, IPF Researcher & Respirologist at University Health Network, Toronto speaks about Living with IPF including current drug therapies and the importance of Early Diagnosis for IPF in this 4-minute segment from CTV’s Canadian Health & Family show aired November 21st, 2015. IPF Patient Barry Williamson shares his experience Living with IPF and how it affects both the patient and the caregiver.

Dr. Charles Chan, Assistant Clinical IPF Researcher, UHN speaks about Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a serious and ultimately fatal lung disease (Sept. 2014).

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”hfYO7_NlT3E&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”360″ auto_thumb=”1″] When Robert Davidson was diagnosed with IPF, limited information about the disease inspired him to create the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF) as an important resource for people living with IPF. Dr. Charles Chan, an IPF Researcher and Respirologist, UHN, believes the outlook for IPF patients is improving and shares insights on how to better manage this challenging disease.
Dr. Gerard Cox, ILD/PF specialist, Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health, Hamilton speaks about Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis to high school students (Dec. 2013).

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”8vEBsJqdZbw&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”360″ auto_thumb=”1″] This interview of Dr. Cox video was recorded for high school students at a dissemination event at McMaster University.