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Essential Facts for Lung Cancer Awareness Month

This article was last updated on November 1, 2016

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women. In fact, one in every four cancer deaths are from lung cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2016 approximately 158,080 deaths would occur from lung cancer.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a great time to brush up on essential facts and reduce your risk by quitting smoking — and encouraging your loved ones to kick the habit, too.

3 Key Types of Lung Cancer

  • Non-small cell lung cancer: The most common type which includes squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
  • Small cell lung cancer: Tends to spread quickly and is also called oat cell cancer.
  • Lung carcinoid tumor: Fewer than 5 percent of lung cancers are lung carcinoid tumors, which grow slowly and rarely spread.

Lung Cancer Facts and Figures

  • According to the American Cancer Society, at least 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking.
  • Genetics and exposure to radon and asbestos are also risk factors.
  • However, just because you don’t smoke, or are not surrounded by harmful elements, doesn’t mean you can’t get lung cancer, especially if you are exposed to second hand smoke.
  • Second-hand smoke is the smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, as well as the smoke exhaled by a smoker. When non-smokers are exposed to second hand smoke — called involuntary or passive smoking — they take in nicotine and the other 7,000 chemicals just as smokers do.

The Lung Cancer Risk Around Us

According to the National Cancer Institute, the  US Surgeon General estimates that living with a smoker increases a nonsmoker’s chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent. Nationwide, there are approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults.

Visit the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center website to learn more.