Lung Cancer Awareness

Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the second most common cancer in both men (after prostate cancer) and women (after breast cancer). It accounts for about 14% of all new cancers.

The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for lung cancer in the United States are for 2012:

About 226,160 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed (116,470 among men and 109,690 among women).

Source: American Cancer Society - What are the key statistics about lung cancer?

Not all cases of lung cancer can be prevented, but there are some ways you can reduce your risk of getting lung cancer.

The best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is not to smoke and to avoid breathing in other people's smoke. If you would like help quitting smoking, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or the University of Michigan's Tobacco Consultation Program at 734-998-6222.

According to the National Cancer Institute people who stop smoking and never start again lower their risk of developing lung cancer or of having it come back.

Never smoking lowers the risk of dying from lung cancer

Many products, such as nicotine gum, nicotine sprays, nicotine inhalers, nicotine patches, or nicotine lozenges, as well as antidepressant drugs, may be helpful to people trying to quit smoking.

Types of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is divided into two large groups, each of which represents different types of cells and has different treatment requirements.

  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Small cell lung cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer
About 85% to 90% of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). There are 3 main subtypes of NSCLC. The cells in these subtypes differ in size, shape, and chemical make-up when looked at under a microscope. But they are grouped together because the approach to treatment and prognosis (outlook) are very similar.

Squamous (epidermoid) cell cancer:
About 25% to 30% of all lung cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. These cancers start in early versions of squamous cells, which are flat cells that line the inside of the airways in the lungs. They are often linked to a history of smoking and tend to be found in the middle of the lungs, near a bronchus.

Adenocarcinoma:
About 40% of lung cancers are adenocarcinomas. These cancers start in early versions of the cells that would normally secrete substances such as mucus. This type of lung cancer occurs mainly in people who smoke (or have smoked), but it is also the most common type of lung cancer seen in non-smokers. It is more common in women than in men, and it is more likely to occur in younger people than other types of lung cancer.

Large cell (undifferentiated) carcinoma:
This type of cancer accounts for about 10% to 15% of lung cancers. It may appear in any part of the lung. It tends to grow and spread quickly, which can make it harder to treat.

Other subtypes
This type of cancer accounts for about 10% to 15% of lung cancers. It may appear in any part of the lung. It tends to grow and spread quickly, which can make it harder to treat.

Small cell lung cancer

Other types of lung cancer

Along with the 2 main types of lung cancer, other tumors can occur in the lungs. Examples of other types of tumors are carcinoid tumors, adenoid cystic carcinomas, hamartomas, lymphomas, and sarcomas. These tumors are treated differently from the more common lung cancers.

Source: National Cancer Institute - What You Need To Know About™ Lung Cancer.

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