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Lung Cancer Awareness

Photo of a person refusing a cigarette

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most common cancer among both men and women in the United States.

The most important thing you can do to lower your lung cancer risk is to quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. For help quitting, visit, call 1 (800) QUIT-NOW (784-8669), or text “QUIT” to 47848 from your cell phone.

What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

You can help lower your risk of lung cancer in the following ways—

  • Don’t smoke. The most important thing you can do to prevent lung cancer is to not start smoking, or to quit if you smoke.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke. Smoke from other people’s cigarettes, pipes, or cigars is called secondhand smoke. Make your home and car smoke-free.
  • Get your home tested for radon. The second leading cause of lung cancer is radon, a naturally occurring gas that comes from rocks and dirt and can get trapped in houses and buildings.

Fast Facts

  • Each year, about 200,000 people in the United States are told they have lung cancer and more than 150,000 people die from this disease.
  • About 80% to 90% of lung cancers are linked with cigarette smoking.
  • When a person breathes in secondhand smoke, it is like he or she is smoking. In the United States, about 7,300 people who never smoked die from lung cancer due to secondhand smoke every year.
  • After increasing for decades, lung cancer rates are decreasing nationally, as fewer people smoke cigarettes.
  • Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in the body. Smoking causes cancer of the mouth and throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, voicebox (larynx), trachea, bronchus, kidney and renal pelvis, urinary bladder, and cervix, and causes acute myeloid leukemia.
  • Screening is recommended for people at high risk of getting lung cancer because of their smoking history and age. Ask your doctor if lung cancer screening is right for you. Lung cancer screening is not a substitute for quitting smoking.

Featured Resources

Secondhand Smoke: What It Means to You

Secondhand Smoke: What It Means to You [PDF-11MB] explains that secondhand smoke hurts you and your family.

Lung cancer quiz

Test your knowledge about lung cancer with this simple quiz!

Cup of Health logo

The “No Good Alternatives to Cigarettes” podcast discusses the increasing use of non-cigarette forms of smoked tobacco.

Radon promising practices brief

Our Household Radon promising practices brief [PDF-494KB] explains what can be done to reduce lung cancer deaths caused by radon in homes.

When Smoking Affects Your Family, It’s Personal video

This video explores personal stories from those who have lost a friend or relative from tobacco use.

Lung Cancer: Why the Numbers Are Personal

In this blog post, CDC scientist Jane Henley writes, “My mother tried to quit smoking cigarettes almost every day of her life. After her diagnosis, she... stayed smoke-free until her last breath.”