What is Lung Cancer?

Looking for information about lung cancer?

Lung cancer begins in normal lung cells that have been altered in such a way that they no longer behave like a normal cell. These abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled fashion, causing harm or invading normal tissue, and may even spread to other parts of the body. Once thought to be a single disease, research has shown that lung cancer is actually a group of diseases characterized by

  1. what type of lung tissue the abnormal cells originated in (the “histology”) and
  2. what type of changes or mutations have taken place in the altered cell ie: presence of molecular proteins (“markers”).

Knowing the specific type of lung cancer is critical to guiding treatment decisions and personalizing a patient’s management, and ultimately improving quality of life and optimizing chances for survival.

Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA) is dedicated to understanding lung cancer. While funding young researchers is our passion, LCFA also serves as a resource for patients or anyone seeking answers, hope, and access to updated treatment information, scientific investigation, and clinical trials.

Understanding Your Diagnosis

LCFA would like to lend a helping hand to help you navigate your way to the lung cancer information and tools for that you deserve.

Learn more about lung cancer diagnosis

Lung Cancer Foundation of America’s Kim Norris explains what are the best steps to take just after a lung cancer diagnosis.

We take around 23,040 breaths a day, constantly exposing our lungs to the surrounding environment. If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. Lung cancer is more treatable if it is diagnosed early. But, since lung cancer symptoms rarely show up until the disease is advanced, it is important to know if you should be tested.

Know the signs, symptoms and risks for lung cancer

Learn lung cancer facts and statistics

Laura Greco and her family

Looking for stories about patients living with lung cancer?

Read fascinating Living With Lung Cancer stories. Illustrating advances in lung cancer research, these stories share hope that as patients are provided the right treatment at the right time, lung cancer survival statistics will change.

Read #LivingWithLungCancer stories

Lung Cancer Foundation of America is so proud of their Speakers Bureau. This group whose lives have been affected by lung cancer are vital to LCFA’s mission.  Spreading  awareness, information and hope in the fight against the leading cause of cancer death, LCFA’s bureau speakers are available for interviews with the media.

Ready to advocate for more lung cancer research and need information?

lung cancer kills about as many as these 3 deadly cancers combined.

Lung cancer: 130,180 deaths
Breast cancer: 43,250 deaths
Prostate cancer: 34,500 deaths
Colorectal cancer: 52,580 deaths

However, federal funding for lung cancer research per related death in 2022 is expected to be just $3,580 compared to $19,283 for breast cancer, $8,116 for prostate cancer, and $6,371 for colorectal cancer.

The good news is that, thanks to advances in technology, early detection screening using spiral CT has been shown to reduce lung cancer deaths by 16% to 20%, compared to standard chest x-rays among adults. Yet, only 16% of people will be diagnosed in the earliest stage, when the disease is most treatable. The need for more research is vital to improving detection, diagnosis and treatments. Join LCFA’s fight for more lung cancer research funding.

Interested in THE latest lung cancer research news?

Our goal is to find ways to help lung cancer patients live longer, fuller lives. We know research funding is needed to do that. LCFA grant awards help accelerate lung cancer research from bench to bedside with the goal of helping patients as soon as possible.

These significant awards allow researchers to set up and staff a lab and begin to amass the crucial data needed to attract add-on funding for the project from major funding sources, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

LCFA’s Scientific Advisory Board evaluates each grant submission and chooses to award the research funding to the “best science” proposals in each round of grant submissions.

LCFA grant awards have spanned many varied projects so far, with more exciting projects on the horizon for future grants.

Meet the Investigators

Recently diagnosed? Here are 4 things to know


More people are living with lung cancer.

Research advances like those highlighted in our Hope With Answers℠ video series are the key.


Learn more about what's new in lung cancer research

Finding reliable sources for information can be difficult for lung cancer patients – LCFA keeps you updated.


New lung cancer research is saving more lives.

Stand with survivors and help fund lung cancer research. By donating to LCFA, you help to fund innovative new research in the field of lung cancer treatment.