Lung Cancer

lungsLung cancer forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining air passages. The two main types are small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. These types are diagnosed based on how the cells look under a microscope. Mesothelioma is cancer in the tissue that lines the chest cavity and covers the lungs.

At Huntsman Cancer Institute, cancers of the lung and chest cavity are treated by a team of specialists, including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, social workers, dietitians, and other professionals. Learn more about our Lung Cancer Program.

How Can I Lower My Risk of Lung Cancer?
Education and Support

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How Can I Lower My Risk of Lung Cancer?

  • Stop using tobacco and avoid secondhand smoke. Tobacco smoke causes most cases of lung cancer and is by far the most important risk factor. Harmful substances in smoke damage lung cells. That's why smoking cigarettes, pipes, or cigars can cause lung cancer and why secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer in nonsmokers. The more a person is exposed to smoke, the greater the risk of lung cancer. Learn more about quitting smoking and tobacco use.
  • Learn about radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste. It forms in soil and rocks. People who work in mines may be exposed to radon. In some parts of the country (including Utah), radon is found in houses. Radon damages lung cells, and people exposed to radon over long periods of time are at increased risk of lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer from radon is even higher for smokers. Radon test kits are available for a low cost at It includes supplies to do a 48-hour test for the gas as well as the cost of having it processed at a lab and receiving test results. Those without web access can call 1-800-324-5928. Learn more about radon from HCI's Dr. Wallace Akerley on The Scope radio.
  • Avoid exposure to asbestos and other substances. People who have certain jobs (such as those who work in the construction and chemical industries) have an increased risk of lung cancer. Exposure to asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel, soot, tar, and other substances can cause lung cancer. The risk is highest for those with years of exposure. The risk of lung cancer from these substances is even higher for smokers.


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Education and Support

When you or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, concerns about treatments and managing side effects, hospital stays, and medical bills are common. You may also worry about caring for your family, employment, or how to continue normal daily activities.

There are several places you can go for support:

  • Your health care team can answer your questions and talk to you about your concerns. They can help you with any side effects and keep you informed of all your treatments, test results, and future doctor visits.
  • The G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center has hundreds of free brochures and more than 3,000 books, DVDs, and CDs available for checkout. You can browse the library, perform Internet research, or talk with a cancer information specialist.
  • Our Patient and Family Support Services offer emotional support and resources for coping with cancer and its impact on daily life to HCI patients and their families.
  • The Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness-Survivorship Center offers many programs to increase the quality of life and well-being of HCI patients and their families.


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For more information about lung cancer visit the National Cancer Institute
This information last updated on HCI website January 2014

*If you are interested in a trial that is currently marked *Not Open, please contact the Patient Education team at 1-888-424-2100 or for other trial options. Enrollment is updated daily.

Forte Research Systems in partnership with Huntsman Cancer Institute

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Make An Appointment

kim mcaffee neuro oncology-thoracicLung Cancer Program
Care coordinator: Kim McAffee
Phone: 801-587-4470

Did You Know?

  • The right lung has three parts (called lobes), while the left lung is smaller and has two lobes.
  • Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. If you or a loved one wants to quit smoking, see our booklet How to Help Someone You Love Stop Using Tobacco.
  • Exposure to high amounts of radon can increase the risk of lung cancer. Radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of uranium in rocks and soil. Radon detection kits are available at most home goods stores.
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