Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Smoking causes 80 to 90 percent of cases of lung cancer. Don’t smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke.
Each year, nearly 200,000 people in the United States are told they have lung cancer and more than 90,000 people die from this disease. Deaths from lung cancer represent about one out of every six deaths from cancer in the U.S.
Research has found several causes and risk factors for lung cancer. A risk factor is anything that changes the chance of getting a disease. Lung cancer risk factors include—
- Secondhand smoke from other people’s cigarettes.
- Radon gas in the home.
- Things around home or work, including asbestos, ionizing radiation, and other cancer-causing substances.
- Medical exposure to radiation to the chest.
- Chronic lung disease such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis.
- Increased age.
You can reduce your risk of developing lung cancer in several ways.
Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit now.
*Avoid secondhand smoke. There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure.
*Have your home tested for radon and take corrective actions if high levels are found.
* Avoid unnecessary medical tests that involve X-ray images of the chest.
*Follow health and safety guidelines in the workplace.
*CDC helps support a national network of quitlines that makes free “quit smoking” support available by telephone to smokers anywhere in the United States. The toll-free number is 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669), or visit smokefree.gov.
Different people have different symptoms for lung cancer. Some people don’t have any symptoms at all when first diagnosed with lung cancer. Lung cancer symptoms can be due to the direct effect of growth of cancer cells in the lung, or due to the effect of cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body. Lung cancer symptoms due to growth of cancer cells in the lung may include—
*Shortness of breath.
*Coughing that doesn’t go away.
*Coughing up blood.
*Repeated respiratory infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
These symptoms can happen with other illnesses, too. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms that concern you.
Lung cancer is treated in several ways, depending on the type of lung cancer and how far it has spread. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. People with lung cancer often get more than one kind of treatment.
People with lung cancer may want to take part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials study new potential treatment options. Learn more about clinical trials at the National Cancer Institute.
People who have been treated for lung cancer may continue to have symptoms caused by the cancer or by cancer treatments (side effects). People who want information about symptoms and side effects should talk to their doctors. Doctors can help answer questions and make a plan to control symptoms.
For more information about symptoms and side effects, visit the National Cancer Institute’s Coping with Cancer.
For information about finding or providing support for people with lung cancer and their caregivers, visit CDC’s Cancer Survivorship.