Lung cancer forms in the tissues of the lung, usually in the cells that line air passages. There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell and non-small cell. The two types are diagnosed depending on how the cells look under a microscope.
Each year, 10 percent to 15 percent of new lung cancer cases are diagnosed in people who have never smoked.
Smoking is the greatest risk factor for lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer increases with the amount of time you’ve smoked and how much you smoke every day. Quitting smoking, even if you’ve smoked for a number of years, can greatly reduce your risk for lung cancer.
Second-hand smoke also contributes to lung cancer. Avoid breathing other people’s tobacco smoke. If people around you are smoking, ask them to stop, go outside, or move to another room or area.
Inhaling chemicals at a workplace, such as radon, can also cause lung cancer. If you work around chemicals, take safety precautions and use breathing equipment or masks.
Your odds for developing lung cancer are higher if you have a family history of lung cancer or a history of lung disease.
Besides avoiding the factors that are known to cause cancer, you also can lower your risk for lung cancer by:
Lung cancer usually doesn’t have symptoms in its early stages. Signs begin to appear when the cancer is in advanced stages.
Common signs include:
At UT Southwestern Medical Center, your physician will probably order several tests to determine whether you have lung cancer.
Commonly requested tests include:
A recent study shows that early detection can reduce deaths by 20 percent. UT Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center offers a screening CT exam for early detection of lung cancer. Finding lung cancer early can improve the treatment effectiveness and options available.