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About Lung Cancer

Being told you or someone you love has lung cancer can be a very overwhelming and frightening experience. Lung cancer is a very complex disease and the medical information you receive may be confusing and difficult to understand at times. We strive to ensure that the medical information provided on this website is clear and patient focused.

Lung cancer is a malignant tumour in the tissue of one or both lungs.  The tumour may be found in the bronchus tubes, or in the spongy lung tissue. Tumours in the lung may also be due to cancer which has spread through the blood from another part of the body e.g. the breast or the bowel.

Like other cancers, lung cancer is the result of the uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells at the site. Over time, this abnormal cell growth develops into a progressively larger mass which starts to invade functional parts of the lung, affecting breathing, causing pain and symptoms related to the loss of normal function.

A few facts:

  • Lung cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men and women with over
    11,500 Australians diagnosed each year.
  • With the latest projections this figure is expected to increase by 21% by the year 2020.
  • More than 23 Australian’s die each day from lung cancer – claims more mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents and friends than breast, ovarian and prostate cancers combined.
  • Survival has increased over the last 26 years, but remains very low; only 14 out of 100 people with lung cancer survive five years beyond their diagnosis.
  • Lung cancer remains one of the least funded cancers in the world – in Australia only 5% of tumour-specific research funding is spent investigating lung cancer.


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. Cancer in Australia: an overview 2014. Cancer series No 90. Cat. no. CAN 88. Canberra: AIHW.