What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer starts in the windpipe (trachea), the main airway (bronchus) or the lung tissue. Cancer that starts in the lung is called primary lung cancer.

Symptoms of lung cancer

Lung cancer doesn't always cause symptoms in its early stages. Symptoms can include a cough that won't go away, coughing up blood and breathlessness.

Getting diagnosed with lung cancer

You usually start by seeing your GP, and they might refer you to a specialist and organise tests. Or you might be referred to a specialist and further tests if screening for lung cancer or a lung health check showed that you might have lung cancer.

Survival for lung cancer

Survival depends on many factors including the stage and type of your lung cancer. 

Treatment for lung cancer

Your treatment depends on several factors. These include what type of lung cancer you have, how big it is and whether it has spread (the stage). It also depends on your general health. 

Stages and types of lung cancer

The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and whether it has spread. The type tells which type of cell the cancer started from.

Advanced lung cancer

Advanced lung cancer means that the cancer has spread from where it started in the lung to other parts of the body. It is also called metastatic cancer.

Lung cancer research and clinical trials

Find out about the latest UK research into lung cancer and search for clinical trials.

Living with lung cancer

There is support available during and after treatment to help you cope. This includes support from your clinical nurse specialist, cancer charities, community services, and family and friends.

Risks and causes

Certain factors can increase your risk of developing lung cancer, such as smoking or exposure to certain chemicals. 

Last reviewed: 
05 Dec 2022
Next review due: 
05 Dec 2025
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