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Lung cancer


The facts

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. More people in the United States die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. This is true for both men and women. Black Men have the highest rates of lung cancer than any other group.

Lung Cancer1


In the United States, about 10% to 20% of lung cancers, or 20,000 to 40,000 lung cancers each year, happen in people who never smoked or smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.

  • Causes of Lung Cancer in Nonsmokers:
  • Radon
  • Second hand smoke
  • Cancer causing agent exposure, i.e. occupational
  • Air pollution
  • Family history of lung cancer

Lung cancers usually are grouped into two main types called:

  1. Small cell
  2. Non-small cell (including adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma)

Non-small cell lung cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer.

Coughing and chest pain may be symptoms of lung cancer.

Different people have different symptoms for lung cancer. Some people have symptoms related to the lungs. Some people whose lung cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized) have symptoms specific to that part of the body. Some people just have general symptoms of not feeling well. Most people with lung cancer don’t have symptoms until the cancer is advanced. Lung cancer symptoms may include:

  • Coughing that gets worse or doesn’t go away
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Feeling very tired all the time
  • Weight loss with no known cause

Screening and Prevention:

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends external yearly lung cancer screening with LDCT for people who :

  • have a 20 pack-year or more smoking history, and
  • smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
  • are between 50 and 80 years old.

A pack-year is smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year. For example, a person could have a 20 pack-year history by smoking one pack a day for 20 years or two packs a day for 10 years. State and local communities can play an important role in helping people lower their lung cancer risk by using evidence-based approaches to :

  • Reduce minors’ access to tobacco products and e-cigarettes
  • Help people quit using tobacco products
  • Help people avoid secondhand smoke
  • Reduce people’s exposure to radon. (Radon is a ubiquitous, colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is a decay product of uranium. A dense gas, radon is often found at higher concentrations in the lower levels of buildings than in upper levels. The U.S. Surgeon General and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend that every residence be tested for radon)
  • Encourage people to be screened for lung cancer as recommended





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