SPANISH LUNG CANCER GROUP

INCIDENCE AND RISK FACTORS

Lung cancer

Lung cancer develops from the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells found in the respiratory tract and in lung tissue. This process of abnormal cell development results in a mass of cells known as a tumour. Malignant tumours are characterised by their ability to grow out of control, invading other tissues in the body.

Lung cancer is classified into two major groups, depending on the size and appearance of the malignant cells: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (accounting for 85% of the cases) or small cell lung cancer. Its tumours are completely different in terms of how they act and their treatment and prognosis.

Incidence

Approximately 20,000 new cases of lung cancer, which has one of the highest rate of incidence and mortality, are diagnosed in Spain every year.

80% of those affected are men.

While lung cancer is historically one of the cancers with the lowest survival rates, advancements and the discovery of a group of genetic alterations that allow a more efficient treatment for patients have enabled progress both in terms of cure and survival.

Smoking is the main risk factor

Prevention, allied against lung cancer. Unlike other types of cancer, the early diagnosis of lung cancer is more difficult, since patients only begin to show visible symptoms when the tumour is already in an advanced stage. It also involves a soft organ that facilitates metastasis. This is behind the Spanish Lung Cancer Group’s commitment to prevention as the main weapon in the fight against this disease.

Smoking represents the main risk factor for lung cancer. 90% of new cases are detected in people who smoke. The elimination of smoking in the population alone could reduce 30 out of every 100 new cases.

Other risk factors for lung cancer are environmental pollution, genetic factors, or molecular alterations, even if in a very small percentage.

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