Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer.
- unexplained weight loss,
- shortness of breath, and
- chest pain.
The lungs are a pair of sponge-shaped organs that are located in the centre of the chest. They have two main purposes:
- to transfer oxygen into the blood when you breathe in, and
- to expel carbon dioxide out of the blood when you breathe out.
The lungs are made up of a series of sections called lobes. The left lung consists of two lobes, and the right lung is larger and consists of three lobes.
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer (after skin cancer) in England and Wales, with an estimated 31,000 new cases being diagnosed every year.
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death in both men and women. During 2007, there were 29,660 deaths in England and Wales as a result of lung cancer.
Lung cancer is primarily a disease that affects older people. Cases are rare in people who are under 40 years of age, but the rates of lung cancer rise sharply with age. The most common age range that lung cancer is diagnosed is between 70-74 years of age.
Smoking is the single biggest risk factor for lung cancer, accounting for an estimated 85-90% of cases. People who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day are 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers.