Lung Cancer: The Leading Cause of Cancer Death

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Lung cancer has emerged as the leading killer of men and women stricken with invasive cancer, affecting husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, and causing suffering for many families. In the United States, lung cancer overtook breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths in women in 1987. Lung cancer deaths account for a quarter of all American cancer deaths, killing more people every year than prostate, breast, and colon cancer combined. Over 157,000 Americans are estimated to have died from lung cancer in 2015.

This disease is difficult to detect in its early stages, and treatments for lung cancer in its later stages provide a poor prognosis: Those with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer—the most common type—have an estimated 1 percent survival rate five years after diagnosis. The other type of lung cancer—small cell lung cancer—is even more aggressive. According to the American Cancer Society, the overall survival rate for lung cancer as of Jan. 1, 2014 stands at just 3%.

Lung cancer can afflict anyone! Even if you think that you’re in perfect health, check with a doctor to know your health status.