Lung Cancer

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Newly Diagnosed with Lung Cancer?

start your cancer education here

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with lung cancer, it's important to gather as much information as possible to navigate your cancer journey effectively. At American Cancer Fund, our goal is to provide you with essential knowledge about leukemia such as symptoms, risk factors, and the latest research advancements to help you become an active participant in your care.

  • ABOUT LUNG CANCER

  • TYPES OF LUNG CANCER

  • PREVENTION

  • RESEARCH

What is Lung Cancer?

Cancer of the lung, like all cancers, results from an abnormality in the body’s basic unit of life, the cell. Normally, the body maintains a system of checks and balances on cell growth so that cells divide to produce new cells only when needed. Disruption of this system of checks and balances on cell growth results in an uncontrolled division and proliferation of cells that eventually forms a mass known as a tumor.

Tumors can be benign or malignant; when we speak of “cancer,” we refer to those tumors that are considered malignant. Benign tumors can usually be removed and do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, grow aggressively and invade other tissues of the body, allowing entry of tumor cells into the bloodstream or lymphatic system and then to other sites in the body. This process of spread is termed metastasis; the areas of tumor growth at these distant sites are called metastases. Since lung cancer tends to spread or metastasize very early in its course, it is a very life-threatening cancer and one of the most difficult cancers to treat. While lung cancer can spread to any organ in the body, certain organs — particularly the adrenal glands, liver, brain, and bone — are the most common sites for lung cancer metastasis.

The lung is also a very common site for metastasis from tumors in other parts of the body. Tumor metastases are made up of the same type of cells as the original, or primary, tumor. For example, if prostate cancer spreads via the bloodstream to the lungs, it is metastatic prostate cancer in the lung and is not lung cancer.

#LungCancerAtAGlance

  • Lung cancer is the number-one cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the U.S. and worldwide.
  • Cigarette smoking is the principal risk factor for development of lung cancer.
  • Passive exposure to tobacco smoke can also cause lung cancer.
  • The two types of lung cancer, which grow and spread differently, are the small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC).
  • The stage of lung cancer refers to the extent to which the cancer has spread in the body.
  • Treatment of lung cancer can involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy as well as newer experimental methods.
  • The general prognosis of lung cancer is poor, with overall survival rates of about 16% at five years.
  • Smoking cessation is the most important measure that can prevent the development of lung cancer.

Feel prepared for every appointment

Carrying the right information can empower you during your cancer care journey. Use these tools to help organize this information so you can be an active participant in your cancer care.

Keep them handy for use at home and bring them along to your doctor visits and other medical appointments.

#KnowCancer Tip

Update your information and checklist after each appointment to keep track of your progress and prepare for your next visit. Being organized is a key step in navigating your cancer care with confidence.

Essentials Checklist

  • Important Contacts: Include your healthcare team's phone numbers and email addresses.
  • Health and Treatment History: A brief summary of your diagnosis, treatment plans, and any past procedures or surgeries.
  • Copies of Reports: Bring recent blood tests, pathology reports, and any other relevant medical records.
  • Calendar: Your schedule of upcoming appointments, treatments, and tests.
  • Progress Notes: Observations about your symptoms, side effects, and any changes in your condition.
  • Questions: A list of questions or concerns you have for your healthcare provider. Don't hesitate to ask anything that's on your mind.
  • Insurance Information: Your insurance card and any necessary authorization forms or documents.

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