Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer.
One common symptom is a persistent cough or a change in the character of a chronic cough.
Chest x-rays can detect most lung cancers, but other additional imaging tests and biopsies are needed.
Surgery, chemotherapy, targeted agents, and radiation therapy may all be used to treat lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. It occurs most commonly between the ages of 45 and 70 and has become more prevalent in women in the last few decades because more women started smoking cigarettes in years past.
Primary lung cancer is cancer that originates from lung cells. Primary lung cancer can start in the airways that branch off the trachea to supply the lungs (the bronchi) or in the small air sacs of the lung (the alveoli).
Metastatic lung cancer is cancer that has spread to the lung from other parts of the body (most commonly from the breasts, colon, prostate, kidneys, thyroid gland, stomach, cervix, rectum, testes, bones, or skin).
There are two main categories of primary lung cancer:
Non–small cell lung cancer: About 85 to 87% of lung cancers are in this category. This cancer grows more slowly than small cell lung cancer. Nevertheless, by the time about 40% of people are diagnosed, the cancer has spread to other parts of the body outside of the chest. The most common types of non–small cell lung cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
Small cell lung cancer: Sometimes called oat cell carcinoma, this cancer accounts for about 13 to 15% of all lung cancers. It is very aggressive and spreads quickly. By the time that most people are diagnosed, the cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body.
Rare lung cancers include