Lung cancer is responsible for the most cancer-related deaths for both men and women throughout the world. The American Cancer Society estimated that 228,190 new cases of lung cancer in the U.S. were diagnosed and 159,480 deaths due to lung cancer occurred in 2013.
Lung cancer was not common prior to the 1930s, but increased dramatically over the following decades as tobacco smoking increased. In many developing countries, the incidence of lung cancer is beginning to fall because of education about the dangers of cigarette smoking and effective smoking cessation programs. Nevertheless, lung cancer remains the most common form of cancer in men worldwide and the fifth most common form of cancer in women.
Forty percent of patients with newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have stage IV disease. Treatment goals are to prolong survival and control disease-related symptoms. Treatment options include cytotoxic chemotherapy and targeted agents. Factors influencing treatment selection include comorbidity, performance status (PS), histology, and molecular genetic features of the cancer. Radiation therapy and surgery are generally used in selective cases for symptom palliation.