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Basic Information About Lung Cancer

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the lungs, it is called lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the United States. In 2010, 14% of all cancer diagnoses and 28% of all cancer deaths were due to lung cancer. After increasing for decades, lung cancer rates are decreasing nationally, as fewer people smoke cigarettes.

Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. Lung cancer also can be caused by using other types of tobacco (such as pipes or cigars), breathing secondhand smoke, being exposed to substances such as asbestos or radon at home or work, and having a family history of lung cancer.

Data source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2010 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/uscs. (full site)

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