Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the United States and worldwide. In fact, lung cancer is responsible for more deaths in this country than the next three most common causes of cancer death combined – colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer. 

According to estimates by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, 236,740 patients will be diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer and 130,180 patients will die of the disease in the United States in 2022

Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Other risk factors for lung cancer include being exposed to secondhand smoke, having a family history of lung cancer, being treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest, exposure to asbestos, chromium, nickel, arsenic, soot, or tar in the workplace, and exposure to radon. When smoking is combined with other risk factors, the risk of lung cancer is increased.

There are two main forms of lung cancer – small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is the more common form of the disease. The most common subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, which begins in the thin, flat squamous cells; large cell carcinoma; and adenocarcinoma, which begins in the cells that line the alveoli, the tiny sacs within the lungs. Other less common types of non-small cell lung cancer are: pleomorphic, carcinoid tumor, salivary gland carcinoma, and unclassified carcinoma. 

November Is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. 

What Is the AACR Doing in ThE Area of LunG Cancer Research? 

The AACR is active in supporting lung cancer research. Grant-supported research projects and other AACR initiatives in this area include:

  • An investigation into the role of metabolism in the progression of late-stage lung tumor, and potential therapeutic targets, by Hsiwen Yeh, PhD, of Rockefeller University in New York. Dr. Yeh was awarded the 2022 AACR-Anna D. Barker Basic Cancer Research Fellowship to support his work. 
  • The mechanism by which certain genetic mutations trigger resistance to immunotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is being studied by Yves Chiswili Chabu, PhD, of the University of Missouri. The research is supported by the 2022 AACR Career Development Award to Further Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Cancer Research. 
  • Five other grants in lung cancer research were awarded in 2021.
  • Earlier, an AACR grant assisted Patrick Ma, MD, now leader of the multidisciplinary thoracic oncology disease team at the Penn State Cancer Institute, in his research on MET mutation in lung cancer.  His discoveries helped lay the basis for a new targeted therapy for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer patients with that mutation. Patrick Ma: Undaunted by Two Pandemics – American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • AACR has worked with the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) to present a series of scientific conferences to discuss recent advances and establish new collaborations.
  • AACR partners with a private family foundation to present a series of lung-cancer oriented sessions at the AACR Annual Meeting.