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Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining the air passages. There are two main types of lung cancer, which are characterized based on the appearance of cells when seen under a microscope: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for about 85% of all lung cancers.

Risk Factors

Smoking (either current use or past history) is the single greatest risk factor for lung cancer. Other factors that increase the risk of developing lung cancer include: regular exposure to secondhand smoke, family history of lung cancer, personal history of cancer (such as head and neck cancer or esophageal cancer) or another lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema), and having certain DNA mutations that are linked to lung cancer, such as mutations in the oncogene KRAS.

Prevention and Routine Screening

Avoiding the factors that increase the risk of lung cancer, such as smoking tobacco products, may help in preventing lung cancer. In addition, there is evidence that using low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans to screen people who smoke can help detect lung cancer early and save lives. For individuals concerned about their risk for lung cancer, consult with a healthcare professional about lung cancer screening.   

In the News

Getting Results…
  • PhD student Catherine Nagawa examining link between social networks, smoking cessation with new NIH award
    Research News

    PhD student Catherine Nagawa examining link between social networks, smoking cessation with new NIH award

    PhD student Catherine Nagawa received a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research.

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