Our grateful thanks to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation for their contribution to our radio report this week (which you can hear again further down this page) - to connect through to the charity and find out more about lung cancer, the help and support they provide alongside details of the 'on the right path' campaign click here.
Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer.
More than 43,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year in the UK.
There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer (see below for symptoms).
Types of lung cancer. Cancer that begins in the lungs is called primary lung cancer. Cancer that spreads to the lungs from another place in the body is known as secondary lung cancer. The information on this page is about primary lung cancer.
There are two main forms of primary lung cancer. These are classified by the type of cells in which the cancer starts growing. They are:
The type of lung cancer you have determines which treatments are recommended.
Who's affected? Lung cancer mainly affects older people. It's less common in people younger than 40. More than 4 out of 10 people diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK are aged 75 and older.
Although people who have never smoked can develop lung cancer, smoking is the most common cause (accounting for more than 70 out of 100 cases). This is because smoking involves regularly inhaling a number of different toxic substances.
Treating lung cancer. Treatment depends on the type of mutation the cancer has, how far it's spread and how good your general health is.
If the condition is diagnosed early and the cancerous cells are confined to a small area, surgery to remove the affected area of lung may be recommended.
If surgery is unsuitable due to your general health, radiotherapy to destroy the cancerous cells may be recommended instead.
If the cancer has spread too far for surgery or radiotherapy to be effective, chemotherapy is usually used.
There are also a number of medicines known as targeted therapies. They target a specific change in or around the cancer cells that is helping them to grow. Targeted therapies cannot cure lung cancer but they can slow its spread.
Outlook. Lung cancer does not usually cause noticeable symptoms until it's spread through the lungs or into other parts of the body. This means the outlook for the condition is not as good as many other types of cancer.
About 2 in 5 people with the condition live for at least 1 year after they're diagnosed, and about 1 in 10 people live at least 10 years.
However, survival rates vary widely, depending on how far the cancer has spread at the time of diagnosis. Early diagnosis can make a big difference.
There are usually no signs or symptoms of lung cancer in the early stages. Symptoms develop as the condition progresses.
The main symptoms of lung cancer include:
Less common symptoms of lung cancer include:
See a GP if you have any of the main symptoms of lung cancer or any of the less common symptoms.
Listen to this weeks radio report
All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.