Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in both men and women. The rise in lung cancer over the last half century is directly related to cigarette smoking.

Lung Cancer
Smoking responsible for 90% of cancer deaths.
Incidence of lung cancer is rising. Lung cancer is responsible for more cancer deaths than colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer combined.
Lung cancer primarily strikes people over age 45. By the time that an individual develops symptoms, spread has usually occurred.

Lung Cancer Types
Nonsmall cell carcinoma (85%) includes squamous, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Of these adenocarcinomas has superseded squamous as the most common type. If detected early, these may be treated surgically.
Small cell carcinoma (15%) characterized by rapid growth and dissemination. Treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

cigLung cancer is directly related to smoking. Over 40 carcinogens have been identified in cigarette smoke. The risk of developing lung cancer is directly related to the number of cigarettes smoked. The change in consumption from unfiltered high tar cigarettes to filtered low tar cigarettes parallels the change in incidence from squamous cell carcinoma to adenocarcinoma. There is a long interval between quitting smoking and elimination of lung cancer risk. Up to 40% of newly diagnosed lung cancer occurs in former smokers. (median abstinence duration 9 years).

Cigarette Smoking in US
Male 32%
Female 27% 
College graduate 12%
Some college 20%
High school 31%
Physician 3%

Lung Cancer Survival
Nonsmall lung cancer is staged based on the characteristics of the tumor (T), lymph nodes (N), and distal spread (M). Survival is directly related to tumor stage. Symptoms develop in late stages. (Learn more about staging)

Screening for Lung Cancer
In the US, 25% of the population smokes. The lifetime risk of developing lung cancer in smokers is approximately 10%. More than 170,000 new patients are diagnosed each year with lung cancer. (Learn more about screening)

  Screened Symptoms
Surgery 72% 24%
Stage I 50% 8%
5yr survival 50% 10%

Note: screened patients more likely to have earlier stage disease

Routine screening for lung cancer with chest radiography or sputum cytology in asymptomatic persons has been abandoned because the yield of chest x-ray screening is low (0.4% cancer). Prospective trials have shown no evidence that screening reduces mortality. Public health has emphasized the prevention or discontinuation of tobacco use.

For further information, please refer to the following:

Tobacco Control Archive

Master Anti-Smoking Page