The second most common Cancer in the UK, only after Breast Cancer.
Lung Cancer is not only one of the most common types of Cancer, but it’s also one of the most serious. There are around 41,000 new cases of Lung Cancer diagnosed every year in the UK, making it the second most common Cancer (after only Breast Cancer).
One of the biggest problems with Lung Cancer is it often doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms early on. Cells can first start becoming abnormal five years before the Cancer’s found. This can be down to the size of the lungs and the fact that the lungs don’t feel pain.
Because of this, by the time you do spot any symptoms, the Cancer is likely to have already spread through a large part of the lungs, or even to outside of them. So as soon as you notice anything unusual you should get it checked out by a doctor straight away in case there is a problem.
23,000men are diagnosed with Lung Cancer in the UK each year
76 in every 100,000men will develop Lung Cancer in the UK
70 - 74is the most common age group for Lung Cancer, with it being rare in people under 40
1 in 3people survive at least a year after they are diagnosed, with fewer than 1 in 10 surviving at least 5 years
Smoking causes 85–90% of Lung Cancers, with people who smoke being 15 times more likely to die from Lung Cancer than people who have never smoked.
Other known risk factors for Lung Cancer include:
Exposure to radon gas
Exposure to asbestos
Air pollution (particularly diesel fumes)
Previous lung disease
A family history of Lung Cancer
You may not notice any symptoms in the early stages of Lung Cancer, so if you spot any of these symptoms, or anything else unusual – get yourself down to the doctor sharpish:
A cough that lasts longer than three weeks
Unexplained weight loss
Shortness of breath
Coughing up blood
Early diagnosis, as with most Cancers, is essential to give you a better chance of fighting the illness. Contact your GP if you’ve had a recurrent cough for over 3 weeks, it’s more than likely to be nothing to worry about, but it’s important to get it checked out.
When you visit your GP, they may ask you to breathe into a device called a spirometer. This measures how much air you breathe in and out and how fast.
Your GP may also take a blood sample to rule out other possible conditions, such as a chest infection.
If necessary, you’re likely to be referred for further tests, which can include:
A chest X-ray: This is usually the first test as most lung tumours show up on X-rays
A CT scan: This may be carried out after a chest X-ray to get a better view of any tumours
Bronchoscopy and biopsy: A bronchoscopy involves a thin tube being used to examine your lungs and a small sample taken as a biopsy to examine