What is lung cancer?

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Lung cancer is cancer of the trachea (windpipe), bronchus (airway) or lung air sacs (alveoli), although it is most often found in the bronchus.


Biggest killer

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in Europe and worldwide. It accounts for 20% of all cancer deaths (28% in men and 10% in women).
In women, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality (18%), but in some countries (e.g. UK) deaths of women from lung cancer now exceeds deaths from breast cancer.

Different types

There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).
Your chance of survival when you have NSCLC, the most common form of lung cancer, is better than with SCLC, which tends to spread more rapidly.


Survival figures for lung cancer are worse than in other common cancers.
Five-year survival rates for lung cancer are only 5% in the UK.
Today in Finland, 12% of patients survive 5 years after diagnosis of their lung cancer compared to 4% 20 years ago.


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