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Lung Cancer: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

Lung cancer remains one of the most prevalent and serious forms of cancer today. With a vast amount of information available, it can be overwhelming to sift through what matters most.


What Is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer originates in the lungs and is usually the result of cells growing uncontrollably and forming a tumor. There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). NSCLC accounts for about 85% of cases and is generally more treatable, while SCLC is more aggressive and spreads faster.

What Causes Lung Cancer?

The primary cause of lung cancer is long-term exposure to tobacco smoke, which accounts for about 85% of lung cancer cases. However, non-smokers can also develop lung cancer due to exposure to radon gas, asbestos, air pollution, and other carcinogens. Genetic factors also play a role in some cases.

What Are the Symptoms of Lung Cancer?

Early stages of lung cancer often present no symptoms, making it difficult to detect until it's more advanced. When symptoms do appear, they may include:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Changes in the voice, such as hoarseness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Breathing difficulties, such as shortness of breath
  • Persistent chest pain
  • Coughing up blood

How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed?

Lung cancer is typically diagnosed through a combination of imaging tests (such as X-rays or CT scans), laboratory tests (including blood tests and sputum tests), and biopsies, where a small tissue sample is taken from the lung and examined for cancer cells.

What Treatments Are Available for Lung Cancer?

Treatment options for lung cancer depend on the type, stage, and overall health of the patient. They can include:

  • Surgery: Removing the tumor and surrounding lung tissue.
  • Radiation therapy: Using high-energy rays to target and kill cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: Using drugs to kill cancer cells, often used when the cancer has spread.
  • Targeted therapy: Using drugs to target specific mutations within cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy: Boosting the body's immune system to fight cancer.

Can Lung Cancer Be Prevented?

While not all cases of lung cancer can be prevented, reducing your risk is possible through several measures:

  • Avoid tobacco: This is the most significant step you can take to reduce your risk.
  • Limit exposure to carcinogens: Reduce your exposure to radon, asbestos, and air pollution whenever possible.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Regular screenings: For those at high risk (such as long-term smokers), regular screenings can help detect lung cancer early when it's more treatable.

Why Is Early Detection Important?

Early detection of lung cancer significantly increases the chances of successful treatment and survival. When caught early, before it has spread to other parts of the body, lung cancer is much more manageable and can often be treated with surgery alone.


Lung cancer is a challenging disease, but progress is being made in its treatment and management. Awareness, early detection, and advances in medical science are all key to combating this condition. For comprehensive lung cancer treatment in India, American Oncology Institute is recognized as the top multi-disciplinary oncology hospital known for its expertise and advanced care.