Lung cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in the lungs.
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Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lung divide without control or order. Normally, cells divide in a regulated manner. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably when new cells are not needed, a mass of tissue forms, called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to malignant tumors, which can invade nearby tissues and can spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor does not invade or spread.
Lung cancers that start in the lungs are divided into 2 types:
Most cases of lung cancer are associated with tobacco use, such as:
While most cases of lung cancer are due to smoking, a percentage of people with lung cancer have never smoked, nor have they been exposed to secondhand smoke. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the United States.
What are the risk factors for lung cancer?
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
How is lung cancer diagnosed?
What are the treatments for lung cancer?
Are there screening tests for lung cancer?
How can I reduce my risk of lung cancer?
What questions should I ask my doctor?
What is it like to live with lung cancer?
Where can I get more information about lung cancer?
General information about non-small cell lung cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/non-small-cell-lung-treatment-pdq. Accessed September 28, 2012.
Lung cancer (non-small cell) overview. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/lungcancer-non-smallcell/overviewguide/lung-cancer-non-small-cell-overview-treating-general-info. Updated February 23, 2012. Accessed September 28, 2012.
Last reviewed September 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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