Lung Cancer

Lung cancers are cancers of the lining cells of the air tubes (bronchi).

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Lung Cancer

It is the most common cancer in men and the third most common cancer in women, after cancer of the breast and colorectal cancer. There are different types of lung cancer depending on which type of cell in the lungs becomes cancerous.

The lining cells of the air tubes in healthy lungs are tall (columnar), and the surfaces nearest the inside of the tube are covered with fine hairs (cilia) that move together. The movement of the cilia acts to carry dust and smoke particles and other foreign material upwards and away from the deeper parts of the lungs. Excessive smoking make these flattened and eventually blocked, thus stopping air flow.

Cigarette smoking is by far the most important cause of lung cancer. Giving up smoking leads to a gradual reduction in the risk of developing lung cancer with each year that passes after stopping.

Other factors involved include environmental irritants such as fumes from petroleum products, asbestos, radioactivity and high concentrations of radon gas in certain parts of a geographic area.

For many years lung cancer has been more common in men than women, but the number of cases in women has risen and is now coming close to that in men. This reflects the rise in the number of women smoking cigarettes.

Passive smoking is another known cause. The rate of lung cancer in non-smokers rises significantly if they are regularly exposed to other people’s cigarette smoke, as, for instance, by living with a smoker, by occupying smoking railway compartments on daily journeys or by working in an office where others smoke.

Studies have shown an increase of up to 24% in the risk of lung cancer among non-smokers living with smokers, compared with non-smokers living with non-smokers.


Other sources of information for these topics.

Lung Cancer Online
Comprehensive directory of lung cancer information and resources for patients and their families.

Welcome to Lung Cancer.org
To build public awareness of lung cancer, four national cancer organizations are uniting to launch a nationwide lung cancer awareness campaign.

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