What is Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer refers to any cancer that forms in the tissues of the bronchus or lung.
Lung cancers are usually grouped in two main types:
- Small cell
- Non-small cell
These differ in how fast they grow and how they are treated. Non-small cell lung cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer.
Smoking is a major risk factor for both types of lung cancer. Approximately 80% of all lung cancer is caused by cigarette smoking. Among people who have never smoked, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer. People who smoke and are exposed to radon have an increased risk of lung cancer.
Lung Cancer in North Carolina
Lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths in North Carolina in 2020 (5,019 deaths). It is estimated that 9,247 people in North Carolina will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 5,671 people will die from lung cancer in 2022.
Since 2000, the rates of new lung cancer cases and lung cancer deaths have decreased in North Carolina. However, the North Carolina rates are still higher than the national rates.
Tips to Reduce Your Risk
- Quit tobacco and vaping use. Quitting takes practice! Coaching and medications can triple your chances of quitting for good.
- Call 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669) for help
- Or visit www.QuitlineNC.com
- Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Test your home for radon. Radon is a gas that can be in the soil and ground water. Homes in all 100 counties have tested at high levels for radon. The only way to know is to test.
- Be aware of workplace environmental hazards. Avoid exposure to cancer-causing chemicals or substances. Follow safety procedures.
- Get a lung cancer screening, if eligible.
- Know your family health history, including cancer illnesses and deaths.
- Eat healthy. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Drink more water and fewer sugar-sweetened beverages. Create meal plans to cook at home.
- Be physically active. Strive to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days week and strength training at least twice a week.
Talk to your healthcare provider, if you have one. You can also check out these resources: