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Lung Cancer

26 Jan 2012
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Lung cancer is the abnormal growth of malignant cells in lung tissue. The lungs reside in the chest cavity and allow oxygen to be transported into the bloodstream.

There are two main types of lung cancer:

  • small cell lung cancer; and
  • non-small cell lung cancer.


Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

SCLC is a fast-growing and aggressive cancer that spreads quickly. SCLC is slightly more common in men than women, and most cases are caused by smoking cigarettes.

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer and it spreads more slowly than SCLC. NSCLC can be caused by air pollutants, smoking and drinking water with high levels of arsenic.

Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of lung cancer.

  • Smoking
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Exposure to radon
  • Exposure to chemicals and fumes


  • Persistent coughing
  • Pain in the chest area
  • Breathlessness
  • Blood in sputum
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing
  • General weakness


  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Photodynamic therapy


If you have any of the above symptoms, consult your general practitioner.




Video: How does lung cancer develop?



Video: Preliminary signs of lung cancer




Cancer Society of New Zealand



NHS – Lung Cancer
National Cancer Institute – Lung Cancer



The New Zealand Medical Journal
British Medical Journal
Journal of the American Medical Association
The Lancet



eHealthForum – Lung Cancer – Lung Cancer



The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic, with links to local and international resources that may be of interest.  We do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date.

You should always, however, seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner first.



Updated April 2012
Image source: Wikipedia – Bronchi