Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women. The incidence of this form of cancer has increased steadily over the past 50 years, especially in women. Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor in this as well as other forms of cancer. The most common form of lung cancer is squamous carcinoma, originating in the lining of the bronchi (bronchogenic). Lung cancer usually cannot be detected early, and it metastasizes rapidly. The overall survival rate is low.
Methods used to diagnose lung cancer include radiographic studies, computed tomography (CT) scans, and examination of sputum for cancer cells. A bronchoscope can be used to examine the airways and to collect tissue samples for study. Surgical or needle biopsies may also be taken.
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