About Lung Cancer
Lung cancer, or the possibility of having it, is scary. Whatever your condition, the specialists at Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center will be with you every step of the way. From screening to diagnosis and treatment, our goal is provide you the best care and outcome possible. And with advances like low-dose lung cancer screening, it is possible to catch lung cancer at earlier stages, improving your chances for a better outcome.
Lung Cancer Statistics and Risk Factors
How common is lung cancer? What are my chances of getting it?
The statistics from the American Cancer Society about lung cancer are eye-opening.
- Lung cancer is the third most common cancer for both men and women (not counting skin cancer).
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women. About 1 out of 4 cancer deaths are from lung cancer. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined.
- Overall, the chance that a man will develop lung cancer is about 1 in 13. For a woman, the risk is about 1 in 16. These numbers include both smokers and non-smokers. For smokers, the risk is much higher.
However, survival statistics vary depending on the stage when lung cancer is diagnosed. The earlier it is diagnosed, the better the chances for an improved outcome.
What things put me at risk for getting lung cancer?
You may be at risk for lung cancer if you have:
- Smoked cigarettes, pipes or cigars. The earlier in life you start smoking, the more you smoke and the more years you smoke, the greater the risk of lung cancer.
- Been exposed to secondhand smoke
- A family history of lung cancer
- Been treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest
- Been exposed to asbestos, chromium, nickel, arsenic, soot or tar at work
- Been exposed to radon at home or work
- Lived where there is air pollution
- Been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
About Thoracic Oncology and Lung Cancer
The word "thoracic" means anything having to do with the chest. Thoracic oncology is a general term meaning cancers that affect the chest area and there are many different types of lung cancers that can affect the chest.
The types of lung cancers we treat at the Comprehensive Cancer Center include: