November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month


Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women. More men die of lung cancer than the next two most deadly types of cancer for men (prostate and colorectal) combined, and more women die of lung cancer (59,280) than breast cancer (42,250).

According to estimates by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, 234,580 patients will be diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer and 125,070 patients will die of the disease in the United States in 2024. 

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. 

action on smoking and lung cancer

The AACR supports necessary measures to reduce cigarette smoking and e-cigarette usage for their potential impacts on cancer incidence and mortality. Read more on the AACR blog, Cancer Research Catalyst: Supporting Tobacco Cessation on World Lung Cancer Day—and Beyond.

What the AACR is Doing in ThE Area of LunG Cancer Research

The AACR is active in supporting lung cancer research. Grant-supported research projects in 2023 and other AACR initiatives in this area include:

  • AACR Career Development Award in Lung Cancer Research to Lindsay M. LaFave, PhD, assistant professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, for “Investigating chromatin plasticity in lung cancer evolution.”
  • AACR Career Development Award in Lung Cancer Research to Alexandre Reuben, PhD, assistant professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, for “T cell receptor engineering for the treatment of lung cancer.”
  • AACR Maximizing Opportunity for New Advancements in Research in Cancer (MONARCA) Grants for Latin America to Javiera Garrido, MSc, PhD, postdoctoral researcher at Universidad de Desarrollo, Chile, for “Factors affecting tumor variability and clinical progression in lung cancer.”
  • Conquer Cancer-AACR Young Investigator Award for Translational Cancer Research to Kyle Concannon, MD, medical oncology fellow at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, for “Targeting Small Cell Lung Cancer through MAGEA4 T-cell Receptor (TCR) therapy.”
  • 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)

for more information

For more information, including guidance on prevention, screening, and treatment, please see our page on Lung Cancer.