Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the primary cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in the United States.
The two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is much more common than small cell lung cancer.
The overall mortality rate for lung and bronchus cancers rose steadily through the 1980s, peaked in the early 1990s, and has been slowly declining since 2001.
Although smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, lung cancer risk also is increased by:
- exposure to secondhand smoke;
- environmental exposures, such as radon,
- workplace toxins (e.g., asbestos, arsenic), and
- air pollution.
The risk of lung cancer can be reduced by quitting smoking and by eliminating or reducing exposure to secondhand smoke and environmental and workplace risk factors. For most patients with lung cancer, current treatments do not cure the cancer. And, lung cancer from asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma and asbestosis.
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