Lung cancer is commonest in smokers but 1 in 20 lung tumours may occur in non smokers. With newer lighter tar cigarettes and more women smoking, more cancers are now found in women than previously.
If you have a cough which is persistent go and ask your gp for a chest x ray. The earlier a cancer is found the more likely it can be cured.
Sadly in lung cancer often operations are not helpful because the tumour has spread outside the chest or the smoking has caused lung damage and removing a lung would leave a patient too breathless. Despite this there are usually many options for treatment.
If lung cancer is suspected usually a CT scan is performed first. These scans take pictures through the chest in slices and can help to plan if a biopsy is needed and the bet route to approach that. biopsies may be taken via bronchoscopy o look down the airways or under x-ray guidance through the skin. Other tests may include complete lung function testing and other x-rays such a s a PET scan before your case is discussed at a multi disciplinary meeting to plan the best treatment.
Treatments may be radical or hope to achieve a cure or palliative and aim to improve symptoms and the length and quality of life. New advances have provided some simple drug treatments that can stabilise disease.