The most common cause of lung cancer is long-term exposure to tobacco smoke, which causes 80–90% of lung cancers. Nonsmokers account for 10–15% of lung cancer cases, and these cases are often attributed to a combination of genetic factors, radon gas, asbestos, and air pollution including second-hand smoke. Lung cancer may be seen on chest radiograph and computed tomography (CT scan). The diagnosis is confirmed with a biopsy which is usually performed by bronchoscopy or CT-guidance. Treatment and long-term outcomes depend on the type of cancer, the stage (degree of spread), and the person’s overall health, measured by performance status.
Common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. NSCLC is sometimes treated with surgery, whereas SCLC usually responds better to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Overall, 15% of people in the United States diagnosed with lung cancer survive five years after the diagnosis. Worldwide, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death in men and women, and is responsible for 1.38 million deaths annually, as of 2008.
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