DiscoverHealth

Infographic: Lung cancer kills 19 people every hour.

What does lung cancer do to my body?

While lung cancer may take decades to develop, symptoms do not usually become obvious until the cancer has already grown into late stage, when survival is less than 15 percent.

When a person has lung cancer, abnormal cells in their lungs cluster together to form malignant tumors. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells grow without order or control and destroy the healthy lung tissue around them.

A tumor could be in the lungs without causing pain or discomfort. Common symptoms include a cough that gets worse over time, hoarseness, chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood or frequent lung infections.

Luckily, after increasing for decades, lung cancer rates are decreasing nationally, as fewer and fewer people smoke cigarettes.

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In the US, lung cancer kills 19 people every hour.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, killing more than prostate, breast, pancreatic, and colon cancer combined.

Are you over age 50? Only 2% of lung cancer patients are under the age of 45; the average age of diagnosis is 71.

Do you smoke more than a pack a day? For how long? 20 years? 30? Smoking contributes to 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and 80% in women.

Have you ever been exposed to asbestos or radon? Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer; if you’re a smoker who has been exposed to asbestos, your risk is 59 times greater than normal.

Did you answer yes to any of the questions above? Low-dose CT scans reduce mortality rates for high risk current or former smokers. Contact Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute at 1-855-DNA-GIBBS to learn more and see if you qualify for financial assistance.