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: Carol Butler, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 24

It was found accidentally when I went into the hospital after total knee surgery. I had a pulmonary embolism and they found a 4-mm pulmonary nodule. I now get scans every three months. I also have chest pain and shortness of breath. They did a scan to rule out another PE and found two more nodules. I have been extremely fatigued and have had a cough for three months. I'm wondering what my chances are of developing lung cancer.

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Comment from: Rosie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 22

I am a 50 year old woman that has never smoked a day in my life. My husband made me go to the emergency room (ER) because my low back was hurting. Thanks goodness I did. I had an x-ray and they saw a spot on my spine. Then the 3 cm nodule on my right lung. What a nightmare! This was 6 weeks ago. I have mutant gene #19; adenocarcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer. They are treating me with oral medications. They are treating me really well. I hope to be cancer free...

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