What is it?

Lung cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lung tissues. Lung cancer includes two main types: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Smoking causes most lung cancers, but nonsmokers can also develop lung cancer. Lung cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer in the United States and is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Lung Carcinoma

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of lung cancer vary between patients and may include:
- Chest discomfort or pain.
- A cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse over time.
- Trouble breathing and swallowing.
- Wheezing.
- Blood in sputum (mucus coughed up from the lungs).
- Hoarseness.
- Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss.
- Feeling very tired.
- Swelling in the face or veins in the neck.


Diagnosis is made through questioning and investigating medical history, list of prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Physical examination of the neck, oral cavity, chest, stomach, and maybe other systems to provide additional information and exclude other diseases. Another possible test includes:
- Laryngoscopy – a procedure that allows looking at the larynx and taking a biopsy, using a special camera inserted through the mouth.
- Bronchoscopy – a procedure that allows looking inside the large airways in the lung and taking a biopsy, using a special camera inserted through the nose or mouth into the lungs.
- Biopsy – includes the insertion of a needle to the diseased area and extraction of a small sample for microscopic inspection.
- CT, MRI, or PET-scan – to look for metastases and define the size of the lesion.
- Blood testing.
If a lung cancer diagnosis is established, more tests would be conducted to determine the type and stage of the disease (stages I to IV).


Different types of treatment are available for patients with lung cancer. They vary depending on the type and stage of cancer. Treatment may include:
- Surgery.
- Radiation therapy - a treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.
- Chemotherapy - a treatment that uses drugs to stop cancer cells’ growth, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
- Immunotherapy - a treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or biologic therapy.
- Targeted therapy - a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells. Targeted therapies usually cause less harm to normal cells.
- A combination of the above.
The choice of treatment depends on the patient’s desire and the tumor’s specific stage and area.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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