- Lung cancer is a malignant tumor in the lungs. This means that the abnormal cells of the tumor grow without order or control. They destroy the healthy lung tissue around them. Lung cancer can spread to other parts of the body. Sometimes other types of cancer can spread to the lungs. This type of tumor is not lung cancer. The information here is about lung tissue cells that are abnormal and have become lung cancer.
- There are two major types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is the more common. It makes up about 80 percent of lung cancer cases. This type of cancer usually grows and spreads to other parts of the body more slowly than small cell lung cancer does. Although some progress has been made in the treatment of lung cancer, it is still the most common cause of cancer death. In 2010, more than 222,000 new cases were expected to be diagnosed and about 157,000 Americans were expected to die from lung cancer.