Lung Cancer - Facts

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Do you, a friend, or relative have lung cancer? Which lung cancer facts are most surprising to you?

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Lung cancer facts

  • Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the U.S. and worldwide.
  • Cigarette smoking is the principal risk factor for development of lung cancer.
  • Passive exposure to tobacco smoke also can cause lung cancer.
  • The two types of lung cancer, which grow and spread differently, are the small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC).
  • The stage of lung cancer refers to the extent to which the cancer has spread in the body.
  • Treatment of lung cancer can involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy as well as newer experimental methods.
  • The general prognosis of lung cancer is poor because doctors tend not to find the disease until it is at an advanced stage. Five-year survival is 40% to 50% for early stage lung cancer, but only 1% to 5% in advanced, inoperable lung cancer.
  • Smoking cessation is the most important measure that can prevent the development of lung cancer.
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See what others are saying

Comment from: mapski68, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: December 30

My 92 year old maternal aunt was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer last May 2015. Due to her advanced age and other co-morbidities no treatment was initiated other than continuous oxygen therapy. She declined any further work up so oncologist discharged her with instructions to contact him if she needed him. She has now developed a cough which she describes as 'not like a cold'. My sister and I are wondering if this means the cancer is advancing. Our mom (her sister) died of lung cancer in 1969 at age 51. And our uncle (their brother) died from same disease 3 years later. We know we can't keep our aunt forever but wonder how to proceed in light of this new symptom.

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Comment from: daytona7, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 24

Way back in the mid-80s while in the USA, I had a chest x-ray which showed a small nodule in the lower right lobe of my lung. Nothing ever came of it. Two years ago another x-ray also showed a small nodule in the lower right lobe with no follow up. Back in August or September 2014 I was diagnosed with non-small cell cancer of the lower right lobe. The nodule measured 2.6 cm. One oncologist said I had stage 3 or 4 lung cancer and wanted to put me on chemotherapy right away, before consultation with the center's radiation oncologist and biopsy of lymph node or a chance to get a second opinion. Biopsy came back as benign. Radiation oncologist said it was stage 1. On Feb. 18, I had the first of five radiation treatments. Would have had second treatment today but problem with a pinched nerve left shoulder forced me to stop treatment until the 23rd. What surprised me the most, was the lack of consultation between both oncologist at the cancer research and treatment center and myself, the patient.

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