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Top 10 Interesting Facts on Lung Cancer

Last Updated on Nov 08, 2018

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in both men and women. Lung cancer risk factors include air pollution, smoking – both active and passive, exposure to radon gas, diesel exhaust, arsenic, asbestos and also some forms of chromium and silica; family history of lung cancer and radiation therapy to the chest.

Lung Cancer - Infographic

Symptoms of lung cancer are a chronic cough, chest pain, feeling of tiredness every time, coughing up blood, wheezing and hoarseness in the voice, shortness of breath and unintended weight loss.

1. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among all the other cancers. In the US during the year 1987, lung cancer exceeded breast cancer as one of the leading cause of deaths. It was the second most common cancer disease in the UK after breast cancer in 2012.

2. Approximately, two out of three individuals diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 years or older. Cases of lung cancer in Scotland are the highest in the world, referring to its history of long smoking habit.

3. Lung cancer has a 17.8 percent five-year survival rate, much lower than other cancers such as breast cancer (90.5 percent), prostate cancer (99.6 percent) and colon cancer (65.4 percent). More than 50 percent of people suffering from lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed.

4. Lung cancer is of two types – small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) consisting of 10-15% of lung cancers and non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) comprising 85-90% of lung cancers. Adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma are the subtypes of non-small-cell carcinoma.

5. Lung cancer does not show up with any symptoms until the disease is in its advanced stage. About one-fourth of people who have lung cancer, get to know about the disease during their routine chest x-ray or CT scan examination. However, in advanced stages of this disease, the growth of cancer cells causes extensive lung damage, making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, coughing up blood (hemoptysis), recurrent lung infections like pneumonia and bronchitis, wheezing and chest pain are also present.

6. In the United States, about 90 percent of lung cancers are associated with cigarette smoking. The risk of lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes used per day and the duration of smoking. Pipe, cigar and shisha also cause lung cancer.

7. Non-smokers who live with smokers have a 24 percent higher risk of lung cancer than those who do not live with a smoker. The number of non-smokers who die from lung cancer, caused by second-hand smoke every year is about 7300.

8. The non-tobacco carcinogens associated with lung cancer are radon, asbestos and arsenic. Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas, which is naturally present in the soil. It surfaces above with the soil and may be found along with the dust and dirt inside homes. Exposure to radon along with cigarette smoking greatly increases the risk of lung cancer. The presence of radon gas can be tested using simple kits. Asbestos is known to cause many types of lung diseases, including lung cancer. Arsenic is a chemical that induces biotransformation of cells when it enters the body and this could lead to cancer development.

9. Most common treatment for lung cancer includes chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, surgery, Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), clinical trials and palliative care, complementary and alternative lung cancer therapies, or a combination of more than one of these techniques.

10. People with early stage non-small-cell lung cancer can have 60 to 70 percent chances of survival after surgical removal of affected part of the lung. However, if cancer has progressed extensively, the average survival duration is 9 months or less. Survival for small-cell lung cancer is 5-10 percent after 5 years of diagnosis.


1. http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/lung-cancer/learn-about-lung-cancer/lung-cancer-fact-sheet.html?

2. https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-lung-cancer

3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3534001/

4. http://www.lungforce.org/lung-cancer-facts

5. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/lung-cancer-statistics

6. https://www.lungcancerfoundation.org/about-us/lung-cancer-facts/

7. http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2012/11/10-lung-cancer-facts-2/

Lung Cancer - Infographics

Lung Cancer - Infographics
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