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Lung cancer

Lung cancers are primarily divided into:

  • non-small cell lung carcinoma (about 85%)
  • small cell lung carcinoma (about 15%)

Together, non-small cell lung carcinoma and small-cell carcinoma constitute about 97% of all carcinomas in the lungs. They have a strong positive correlation with smoking. 

There are several subtypes of non-small cell lung cancers, the most common ones are: 

  • adenocarcinoma
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • large cell carcinoma

Carcinoid tumors, sarcomas and carcinomas of the salivary gland type are rare and not related to smoking. Mesotheliomas are tumors originating from the pleura and in rare cases from the peritoneum.


Compared to other cancers, lung cancer is fairly common and represents 13.3% of all new cancer cases in the United States. Lung cancer is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 65-74 and is more common in men than women. Approximately 6.5%  will be diagnosed with lung cancer at some point during their lifetime.

In 2017, it is estimated to be 222,500 new cases of lung and bronchus cancer in the United States (33).


Age-specific incidence of lung cancer, 2010–2014.

Source: National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, USA



Incidence of lung cancer, 1975–2014.

Source: National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, USA

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