There are two main types of lung cancer:
- Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for 85% of known cases.
- Small cell lung cancer accounts for 15% of cases. It spreads more quickly than non-small cell lung cancer.
Have I got any signs of lung cancer?
- shortness of breath
- changes to the voice such as hoarseness
- chest pain
- coughing or spitting up blood
- a new cough that does not go away
- recurring bronchitis or pneumonia
- enlarged fingertips
- loss of appetite
- unexplained weight loss
Am I at risk?
Factors that can increase your risk of lung cancer include:
- smoking tobacco
- second-hand (passive) smoking
- exposure to asbestos
- exposure to radon (radioactive gas)
- exposure to occupational substances such as arsenic, cadmium, nickel, diesel fumes and soot
- HIV infection
- family history
- history of lung diseases such as lung fibrosis or emphysema
- older age.
How will I get tested?
There is no routine screening for lung cancer in Australia.
If you have any signs or concerns visit your GP who may ask for:
- Blood test
- Chest x-ray
- CT scan
- PET scan
- Lung function test
- Sputum cytology
My results are positive...what happens next?
Your GP will refer you to a specialist service.
Treatment will depend on the type of lung cancer you have, how advanced it is and your general health.
- Radiation therapy
- Ablation – heat or radiation
- Immunotherapy or targeted therapies
- Supportive management