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On May 30, 2017
Last modified:June 5, 2017


Lung Cancer is cancer that starts in the lungs. The most normal type is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC makes up about eighty to eighty-five % of all cases. 30 % of these start in the cells that form the lining of the body’s cavities and surfaces. This step normally forms in the outside portion of the lungs (adenocarcinomas). Another thirty % begins in cells that line the passages of the respiratory tract (squamous cell carcinoma).

Lung Cancer Center – Causes – Types – Symptoms & Stages

A backside subset of adenocarcinoma starts in the tiny air sacs in the lungs (alveoli). It’s called adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS). This step isn’t aggressive and may not invade surrounding tissue or required urgent treatment. Speed up-grow types of NSCLC include large-cell carcinoma and large cell neuroendocrine tumors.

10 important lung cancer facts

  1. Lung cancer is the 2nd most normal cancer in both male and female (not including skin cancer).
  2. Lung cancer accounts for about 14 % of all fresh cancers.
  3. This year, 116,470 male and 109,690 female will be newly diagnosed with lung cancer in the U.S.
  4. About 160,340 people will die from lung cancer in the U.S this year.
  5. About two out of 3 people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older.
  6. Fewer than 2 % of all cases are found in people younger than 45.
  7. The chance that a man will be developing lung cancer in his lifetime is about 1 in 13 and for a woman, 1 in 16.
  8. African-American men are about 40 % more likely to develop lung cancer than Caucasian men. The rate is about the same in African American women and in Caucasian women.
  9. The lung cancer rate has been dropping along men for more years and is just starting to drop in women after long steps of up.
  10. Although lung cancer is a serious illness, few people are cured. More than 350,000 people alive today have been diagnosed with lung cancer at some point. With the diagnosis, it’s important to seek support.

Lung Cancer Center - Causes - Types - Symptoms & Stages | Cancer Research UK

Lung Cancer Signs & Symptoms

Most lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread, but few people with early lung cancer do have symptoms. If you go to your doctor when you first notice symptoms, your cancer might be diagnosed at an earlier stage, when treatment is many likely to be the effect. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • A cough that does not go or take worse
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Infections such bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back
  • New onset of wheezing

If lung cancer spreads to distant organs, it may cause:

Bone pain (like pain in the back or hips)

Nervous system changes (such as a headache, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, dizziness, balance problems, or seizures), from cancer, spread to the brain or spinal cord.

Lung Cancer Center - Causes - Types - Symptoms & Stages | Cancer Research UK

Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), from cancer, spread to the liver

Lumps near the surface of the body, due to cancer spreading to the skin or to lymph nodes (collections of immune system cells), such as those in the neck or above the collarbone

Most of these symptoms are much likely to be caused by something other than lung cancer. Still, if you have any of these problems, it’s important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

How common lung cancer is

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the United Kingdom (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). Around 43,500 people are diagnosed in the UK each year.

Smoking and lung cancer

By far the bigger cause of lung cancer is smoking. It causes more than 8 out of 10 cases (86 percent) including a small proportion caused by exposure to 2nd  hand smoke in non-smokers (passive smoking).

Here are some facts about smoking and lung cancer

The more you smoke, the more likely you are to get lung cancer but the length of time you have been a smoker is much important than how many cigarettes you smoke a day.

Lung Cancer Center - Causes - Types - Symptoms & Stages | Cancer Research UK

Start smoking at a young age is even more harmful than starting at a Young age

Stopping smoking reduces your risk of lung cancer compared to continue to smoke. The quickly you quit, the good your health – but it’s never too late

Passive smoking (breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke) increases the risk of lung cancer, but it is still much less than if you smoke yourself.

Lung Cancer Risk Factors

Some other things increase lung cancer risk. But they increase the risk by only a small amount and far less than smoking.  They are

  • Exposure to radon gas
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Air pollution
  • Previous lung disease
  • A family history of lung cancer
  • Past cancer treatment
  • Previous smoking related cancers
  • Lowered immunity

How Treatment is Planned

Your cancer specialist looks at a number of factors that help them to plan your treatment. These include

The step of lung cancer you have

  • Where the cancer is within the lung
  • Your general health
  • Whether cancer has spread (the stage)
  • Results of blood tests and scans

Your own wishes

You may find that other people you meet are having different treatment from you. This may be because they have a different type of lung cancer. Or it may be that some of the other factors listed above are different. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or specialist nurse any questions you have about your treatment.

Lung Cancer Center - Causes - Types - Symptoms & Stages | Cancer Research UK

If you have small cell cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or other areas of the body you may have chemotherapy, radiotherapy or treatment to relieve symptoms. If chemotherapy working well to shrink the lung tumor low and you are fairly fit you may also have radiotherapy to the brain to kill any cancer cells that may have before spread there.